Paying It Forward One Pamasahe At A Time

Being kuripot means I am extra careful when it comes to spending money, usually restraining myself from unnecessary expenses. For as long as I can remember, I have always been tight with money. Whenever I receive money, my first instinct is to hold it until there is a “real” need for it. With this view on money, I am not naturally inclined to be generous or just give away money for no reason. Until someone decided to pay it forward to me.

Back in college, I would take the bus to and from school. The student rate at that time was P22 one way. One time, I bumped into a friend of mine and sat next to him. He was a little older than me, so he was already working (not sure exactly what his job was at that time). I was surprised when he offered to pay for my bus ride. I told him he didn’t have to, but he insisted. As if he was a billionaire. A really generous and kind billionaire. It was a small gesture of kindness, which made a huge impact to me as a student. Being a frugal guy, this was P22 savings (or a Burger Mcdo!). I was also pretty sure he wasn’t a billionaire, and just a normal dude like me. So his decision to pay it forward without any hesitation really moved me and made a dent to my stingy heart.

photo of a bus
Photo by Jonathan Borba on

Fast forward a couple years later to my first job – I found myself having to take the same bus to work on a holiday, because the usual UV Express Vans/Shuttles were unavailable. A little after I rode, a family friend of mine, who was in college at that time, hopped on the bus, and sat next to me. I gladly offered to pay for his bus fare, which had already increased to around P28 or P29 pesos. I was surprised at myself that I could even do this, especially since his family was well off and he could easily afford the bus trip. I probably wanted him to feel the way I felt back when that happened to me.  There was another instance where I saw a friend of mine (also still studying) at the UV Express Van heading home from work. I offered to pay for him, without hesitation.  Both were actually surprised too.  Deep down I knew they felt some sort of relief.

I honestly couldn’t understand my unnatural behavior.  I don’t know how people can be so generous with their money.  Some do it to show off.  Some do it out of peer pressure. Or to get something in return.  I don’t know why my friend paid for my bus trip when I was a student.  All I know is that small act of generosity changed something in me.  I learned that you don’t have to wait to be rich to be generous.  And that one little act of kindness can impact more than one person.  Hopefully paying it forward will be a lifestyle for me the more I do it, and not just when I find myself in the same exact situation.  🙂




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