So, for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to convey a distinct message with a story that I wanted to share but always felt that I couldn’t quite find the right words. Something wonderful happened, yesterday, that has lead me to believe I need to share this story regardless of whether I get the messaging correct.
I’m not sure how many people heard of this story or not, I know it was big in a lot of circles, but I still think many people missed out on the goodess.
In late September the Fire Department in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada was hosting a PTSD Seminar for Firefighters and decided to order pizza for dinner for everyone.
Local Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, asked one of his team to call ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake to order pizza for the crew, gave him his credit card to pay for it and told him to tell ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ they’d drive down and pick up the pizzas when they were ready.
Not knowing the phone number for ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ the firefighter placing the order went to google to find it. And with an easy mix-up, he used google to find the phone number for ‘Alamo’s Pizza’. He phoned and placed an order with ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ (in San Antionio, Texas) not realizing that he’d called Texas and not realizing that he’d misspelled the restaurant’s name by one letter.
An hour and a half later ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio called them to let them know their pizza’s would be ready for pickup in ten minutes. A different firefighter answered the phone and when he saw the number on call display, he realized something wasn’t right. They googled the area code and thought ‘Why was Alimo’s calling from a San Antonio number?’. Then they realized they’d made a huge mistake.
The Slave Lake Fire Department had called ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio, Texas rather than ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake, Alberta. They’d paid for 18 pizzas and ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio had spent the past hour and a half making all of these pizza’s.
The Slave Lake Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, called up Alamo’s Pizza in San Antonio to let them know about this hilarious, huge mistake that was made and that they wouldn’t be down to pick up these pizzas. The Alamo’s Pizza Manager in San Antonio, laughing over the mistake offered to refund their purchase but Pavcek wouldn’t have it. 18 pizzas was a large order and a lot of money for that restaurant and he didn’t want that food to go to waste.
So, instead, Pavcek suggested that Alamo’s take the pizza and deliver it to local fire departments in his area. The owner of Alamo’s obliged and the pizzas were dlievered to firefighters in local fire departments in San Antonio, Texas, telling them they were a gift from the firefighters in Slave Lake, Alberta and to ‘pizza it forward’ if they ever get the opportunity.
The act of kindness sparked an international campaign of paying it forward where Fire Departments, Police Depatments, Hospitals and other locations across Canada and the USA were being randomly delivered pizza for their first-responders and given the message #PizzaItForward.
It was a really heartwarming story to follow on Twitter and Instagram. If you search the hashtag you can still find photos and stories of police officers and nurses, doctors and firefighters being handed large quantities of pizza, ‘just because’.
I share this story because, for weeks now, I’ve been wanting to promote the notion that paying it forward is one of the best things that we can do for fellow human kind. ESPECIALLY, with the holidays coming up. American Thanksgiving is next month and Christmas and Hanukkah will be here before we know it. Random acts of kindness are wonderful things to do all year, but I find them especially important during the holidays! Holidays can be really difficult times for a lot of families, whether they can’t afford things or have lost loved ones or are just struggling with mental health issues. There are plenty of different things that can make holidays really hard.
I’ve been wanting to encourage every person who reads my blog to go out and ‘Pay It Forward’ to a stranger, to a friend, to a family member… just to someone who will appreciate it. Then, yesterday as I was counting ballots for the Election, an extremely thoughtful, kind individual (Katherine) who reads this blog did something extremely, extremely kind for me with a simple note that said ‘Pay It Forward’. It was so kind I actually started to cry when I saw it. I thought of how good it felt and how happy it made me, and I thought, yeah, I have to pass this on.
To the firefighters of Slave Lake, all of the people who took part in the #PizzaItForward campaign, and to Katherine, thank you. Thank you for your random acts of kindness, thank you for spreading so much good in the world.
I have plans to take Katherine’s kindness and pay it forward, though I doubt my abilities to make someone as happy as she made me, I’m definitely going to try. And, since I’m here and telling you these stories, I’d like to encourage anyone who reads this to do commit their own random act of kindness. To do something nice for someone you know, or someone you don’t, and tell them to pay it forward. Ahead of this holiday season, the world could definitely use a lot more kindness in it. And it might as well start with you and I… right here and now.
#PizzaItForward #PayItForward #KindnessAboveAll