[Preface by Dr. Lynda]

Today we are going to circle through a subject that keeps coming up lately: when people do something kind, they are thinking in terms of the pay forward concept. 

Have you noticed a little uptick in the kindnesses of strangers lately? I have, and it’s made me stop, think, and be a little kinder at my next opportunity! Then today, when I planned to share a really lovely video on this subject, I saw this story on my 23-year-old nephew’s Facebook wall. He’s a former college football player, a gritty, hard-working farm kid headed for the Air National Guard… so he’s not one of those people who are prone to waiting for the next spooky warm-fuzzy.

Here’s A.J. Ulrich’s story with a Pay Forward twist, and his first article for Ever Widening Circles.

Pay Forward plays out in just a pair of socks

Something pretty cool happened today shopping at Costco. I struck out this morning to do an errand for my family and I had a list of items I needed to buy. Most importantly, I had a firm money limit. As I filled my cart, I thought I had nailed the amount perfectly and would have a few dollars leftover for a new pair of warm socks.

Unfortunately, when everything was rung up at the cash register, I was $10 over, so I took the winter socks out to give back to the cashier. At that moment, the nice older lady behind me spoke up.

Image: AJ teaching Liesl to blow bubbles, future Life Vest Inside Fans

Today’s author, A.J. Ulrich, and his little cousin, EWC writer Liesl. Random act of kindness: teaching her to blow bubbles instead of dumping that whole bottle of soap on her head!

“Let me buy those for you” she says, matter-of-factly. I was shocked at first, and responded. “You don’t have to do that,” I told her to which she responded, “of course I don’t, and I’ll do it anyway.”

Everyone within earshot was stunned, including the cashier. After a tiny pause, I thanked her, threw open my arms and said, “Bring it on in for a hug!”

I thanked that generous lady and given the opportunity, very soon I will look for a way to pay it forward myself!

Here’s a video made by a wonderful organization called “Life Vest Inside”,  that tells my story, the nice lady’s story, and the story of thousands of other people who are giving this way of life a try:

I think this whole concept of kindness and pay forward may be something to keep an eye on. I know for myself, I’ll probably end up paying that $10 forward countless times, making the multiplier factor unimaginable… over a simple pair of socks.

What would the world look like if we all followed that lead?

  • A.J. Ulrich

Thanks to today’s newest EWC contributor A.J. Ulrich for writing and submitting this excellent story! Ulrich is, as you might have guessed, related to EWC founders Dr. Lynda and Dr. Chuck, hailing from their home state of Illinois. At 23 years old, Ulrich is a graduate of Monmouth College in IL where he played Offensive Tackle and where he is know a graduate assistant for the team. A.J. is also a pilot just like his father (Dr. Lynda’s brother), and is in the process of enlisting in the Air National Guard.

Want to contact A.J. Ulrich. Use our contact us page!

And of course, thank you to the “Life Vest Inside” organization for producing that wonderful video that has had 20 million views!.. We got to know the organization’s founder, over a couple months and found her to be the most extraordinary person: positive, generous with her time, perfectly suited to change the world a little!

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

Want to dive a little deeper into kindness?

Here a couple articles I highly recommend!

5 minutes

Generosity: To Give Without Reason

Generosity can be joyously large, or it can be breathtakingly simple and personal. Today we look at Narayanan Krishnan, a man who inspires us to give for no reason other than to lift the spirits of others.

Read More

5 minutes

Empowering Homeless People: One Stitch at a Time

Detroit resident Veronika Scott grew up in a broken home... and grew determined to end the sadness of the needy and homeless. Hear about her organization, The Empowerment Plan, as well as her coat/sleeping bag invention, in today's feature.

Read More

You can also just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few of my favorite articles that continue some of the trains of thought here! Or, head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!



  1. “Life Vest Inside – Kindness Boomerang – “One Day”” YouTube. LifeVestInside, 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwAYpLVyeFU>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.