Opinion: Long-time donor receives assistance in time of need

For years I paid it forward when I was able to work. I grabbed kids’ names off of Christmas trees and bought them everything on their list and then some, I paid for someone’s coffee, lunch, groceries, parts for their car, gas, put together Thanksgiving baskets, donated tons of dog and cat food to the shelters, giving people rides and the list goes on. Even with very little I have now, I’ve always tried to Pay It Forward somehow, but today I was surprised when a total stranger Paid It Forward to me.
For those who don’t know me — for years I was a workaholic. I work three to four jobs and my workweek was 75-80 plus hours a week. It’s all I knew and I was happy working that way, but I put my body through hell and all those years of working finally caught up to me. I was forced to quit working my hardcore manual jobs or ruin my body even more.
I tried finding something I could do but after filling out 450 job applications, there was nothing. I was repeatedly told I was a liability due to my injuries. I had no choice but to go on Social Security and to sign up for food stamps. No, not everyone who gets food stamps abuses the system and refuses to work. Some of us have no choice because we no longer can. (By the way, I paid my share into Social Security when I did work. I had more hours in within 10 years then most have in 20.)
Reminder, just because I’m a big woman with a nice truck doesn’t mean anything. I moved for being a big woman and I worked hard for all I have until I no longer could, so just because you can’t see my injuries doesn’t mean I’m not injured.
At any rate, I thought today was the first, so I went food shopping at the Shaw’s in Middlebury. It wasn’t until I tried using my card twice and it was denied that I asked the cashier if today was the first and she said, “No, it’s the 30th.”
I felt lousy as well as embarrassed because I was holding everyone up and my groceries had all ready been bagged. I apologized to everyone around me and even offered to put the items back on the shelves so the store wouldn’t have to when the woman in back of me told me to wait, looked at my grocery total and told me she had it and to take my groceries. I told her it was OK that I could wait until tomorrow but she insisted. I asked for her name and number so I could repay her but she just smiled and said, “Pay It Forward.”
I’ve never run into anyone to do anything like that for me. I had always worked for everything or gone without. I had also always been the person to Pay It Forward and not the one to receive.
To the pregnant blonde woman who Paid It Forward to me today, THANK YOU! It doesn’t have to be much nor does it take much to make someone’s day or help them out so to everyone out there, do what you can to make someone’s day or help someone in need or when they least expect it and Pay It Forward!
Monica L. Schaner

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