In this story l want to share some real life experiences of paying forward.
Paying It Forward: The Way I want To Live
By Adeola Aderounmu
One day my phone rang 5 minutes after l returned home from a shopping mall. I had done the weekly grocery shopping for the family at a store barely 2 km from our home.
I picked up the phone and the voice at the other end was not a familiar one just as the number also did not turned up any name. Have you been shopping at the store today? The voice asked. Yes l just came home, l replied.
Can you check your wallet if you are missing something? Sure l said and immediately knew something was wrong. Yeaaaa….l said….one of my credit cards is missing.
I have it, he said.
Another 5 minutes l met the man at the store and he gave me back my credit card.
How did you find me, l asked full of curiosity.
When l saw your name, l sent a text message to my son and he looked up your contact information on the address book online. That’s how l got your number, he concluded.
I was short of words. It came to me at as a shock. The speed at which he got in touch with me gave me the conviction that he didn’t think twice about what to do when he found my credit card.
He could have gone on a spending spree and l wouldn’t have known until the next day or the next time l need the card.
I was so convinced of the man’s honesty that l kept using the credit card until it expired. I mean l was not afraid that he could have copied the number and the 3-digit security code at the back.
I was pleased.
When we exchanged pleasantry further with each other, he told me that he migrated to Sweden from Iraq many years ago.
We shook hands and l drove back home. I explained to my wife and she smiled. We were both pleased.
I know that when you talk about righteousness that l cannot claim to be holy. But l am sure that l do the best l can. I try to radiate love and to show people that l care.
I have paid forward so many acts of kindness that have been done to me.
I have asked friends and acquaintances to pay forward, but not all the time. Sometimes l need some things back so l can carry on with a normal life as well.
Just two weeks ago, l was at another shop where they sell stuffs they claimed come from all over the world. I found Nigerian plantain there, so their claim may be true.
On this particular day, an elderly woman was ahead of me and she had paid for all her grocery and stuffs. She was packing her things and had forgotten to remove her credit card from the payment machine.
The machine was positioned so that the cashier does not see if the card has been removed or not. The idea is that cashier do not see your codes when you make a payment.
Luckily for this elderly woman she was still packing her things when l wanted to insert my own credit card. It went quickly because l bought only 2 or 3 items. So l took her credit card and handed it over to her.
She was pleased.
On my way out, l said to her trevlig helg! (have a nice weekend) and she replied tack detsamma! (thanks, l wish you the same).
I didn’t think twice when l had the chance to hand over the elderly woman’s credit card. She has completely forgotten it in the machince.
I could not waste the chance to represent. I mean l grew up in Nigeria and we were raised to be good, to be kind and to be helpful.
In my family especially my father always say, remember the son of whom you are.
I am so ashame of all the negative news about criminals in Nigerian government and the stupidity of Nigerian politicians.
I am not going to be a perfect man or claim that l am a righteous man but l do my best.
Last week, precisely on the 4th of december 2015 l was on my bicycle about 2 km away from home when l noticed something unusual on the ground, so l stopped.
If you don’t know how it is in Sweden at this time of the year, then it will be hard to comprehend the cold, dark, winter mornings.
On this day it was cold and raining. So l had every reason to hurry up to work. I should ignore every object that intends to distract me.
When l stopped my bicycle, l looked down at the dark object lying on the wet ground on this dark morning. It turned out to be a mobile phone. It is a Samsung-Galaxy S5.
The first thing l did when l got to work was to check the mobile phone out properly. Luckily l could access the phone by just swipping the screen. Luckily too the owner had a facebook account where l saw a home-telephone number.
10 hours after l found the phone it was reunited with its owner.
She was very happy and she brought a gift when she came to our house to collect her phone.
I do not know what she and her husband whom l got at the other end of the phone in the morning have discussed but the gifts she brought gave volume to their thoughts. I accepted the chocolate and the special seasonal plant that she presented to me. (see pictures)
This is the way l want to live.
This type of paying forward is what makes the world go round.
I hope Charlotte is as impressed as l was when a man from Iraq gave me back my credit card which l had forgotten in a shopping wagon as l hurriedly left the store.
I hope that that elderly woman at the global market store was impressed that some of us are in this country not just because of what we gain from the country but also because we are good people who can contribute our bits to make the country a better place to live.
We came here to learn and to share our experiences too. Now Sweden is our home too.
We are good people.
I can recall that l have been good in uncountable ways both at work and at play.
Some people have touched my lives both in Nigeria and here in Sweden. l have tried so hard to pay forward by touching other people’s lives positively. But we soon learn that we cannot please everybody and some people will make good deeds look like divine favours. They don’t pay back and they don’t pay forward.
I have always thought of writing for the rest of my life, because everyday in my head, there is always a chapter that is left unwritten out of my life’s experiences- at home, work, with friends, families and the people l see everyday on the train, on the bus, and everywhere l go.
The way l live and work have given me adequate shield and buffer from the negativity that surrounds me. For examples, all those extra hours l have spent on my students since 1990, without pay, are the ones that count most.
For it is at those times that l have gone out of my comfort zone to give my students the extra help and support that they need.
I am happy when they find the motivation with which they succeed in the moment and subsequently obtaining the momentum that keeps them going throughout life.
This is the way l want to live-full of content and paying forward all the good deeds.
In my view, this is part of the secret of authentic happiness. It adds meaning to our lives.