Every year on September 11, strangers do nice things for other strangers.
A man named Kevin Tuerff started the tradition on this day.
On September 11, 2001, when U.S. airspace closed after the terrorist attacks, Kevin was on board a jumbo jet flying over the Atlantic. His plane – along with 37 other jets – landed in a small town in Canada. The 7,000 stranded passengers had no access to their luggage, no food, and no place to stay.
Overnight, the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, nearly DOUBLED in size. And what did the 10,000 residents do? They opened their hearts and homes to take care of complete strangers for almost a week.
When Kevin got back to his home in Texas, that kindness stuck with him. So he started Pay It Forward 9/11 to honor the kindness that strangers show each other in times of need.
Oh, and the other thing you should know about that Kevin guy – he’s co-founder of an advertising and PR agency. Every year, he gives teams of his employees $100 each to do something good for strangers on September 11. Those do-gooders then ask the recipients to show their appreciation by paying it forward to someone else.
A handful of companies in my area participate in Pay It Forward 9/11 by sponsoring their own teams of employees. But I’ve always thought it would make a great family tradition too.
Where the Free Money Comes In
For this year’s Pay It Forward 9/11, I’m pledging $100. My family and I will use $50 to spread a little kindness to strangers, and the other $50?
I’m giving it away.
See below for how you can enter to win that other $50. All I ask is that you use at least part of it to do something good for a stranger on September 11, and ask them to pay it forward.
But even if you don’t win, please join me in committing a random act of kindness on September 11, no matter how small.
Your act of kindness can be something you do with your partner, with your kids, alongside co-workers, or just by yourself.
A few ideas for you:
- When you stop for that Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way to work, pay for the people in line behind you.
- At lunch, make your server’s day by tipping 100%.
- Buy a bunch of balloons and give them to the first kid you see.
- Get a copy of a funny book and leave it on a bus stop bench.
- Pick up sandwiches from the most delicious deli and hand them out in a hospital waiting room.
Need more ideas? Click here.
- Enter below by Monday, September 9, at 11:59 pm.
- In your comment, tell me how you’ll participate in Pay It Forward 9/11:
- If I win the $50, on September 11 I will…
- Even if I don’t win, on September 11 I will…
- To spread the word on social media, link here with http://bit.ly/payfwd911 or use the hashtag #payitforward.
- I’ll randomly select a winner on the morning of September 10 and send the prize via Paypal.
- If you win, I will interview you after Pay It Forward 9/11 to find out how your random act of kindness went. Please also take a few photos, and I’ll share your story and photos on this blog.
- If you are a blogger and want to offer your own Pay It Forward 9/11 giveaway, let me know and I’ll link to your giveaway from this post.
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