Note: This is a blog post from 2010 that is just as relevant today, if not even more so, and it doesn’t apply just to RVers
A few days ago we were in an RV park in Williams, Arizona when a man in a big diesel pusher motorhome parked near us asked if we had a ladder he could use. The high wind had ripped the cover off of his rooftop vent, and he needed to cover the opening it left. I drug our Beanstalk Ladder out of our storage bay and loaned him a roll of metal foil duct tape to help seal the hole in his roof.
After he was finished, he thanked me and offered to pay for the tape and the use of our ladder. I told him that too many people have helped me out of too many jams in my life to expect payment for doing a good deed for somebody else.
It’s called paying it forward, and I love the concept. We all know people that love keeping score. You know the ones I mean – “I helped you fix this, so now you owe me that” or “I loaned you my bicycle, so you owe me lunch” or whatever. I don’t like being around those kinds of people because I can never keep track of who owes who what this week.
I much prefer to do what I can to help somebody when they need it and hope that they’ll remember it the next time they see someone in need. It’s just basic karma.
I’m not sure if the world’s nicest people are just attracted to the RV lifestyle or if living in an RV just mellows them out and makes them such good neighbors. Either way, RVers are some of the best practitioners of the pay it forward philosophy that you’ll ever find.
More than once, I have had total strangers in RV parks see me struggling with a project or repair and come to my assistance. I have watched folks leave the comfort of their lawn chair and awning to help another RVer back into a particularly tight campsite or rush to put up a neighbor’s awning when they were away, and a strong wind came up.
Sometimes it is done in small ways that nobody ever notices, like picking up a piece of trash somebody left in an RV site or hosing down a spill at the dump station that an inconsiderate camper neglected to do.
It may be slowing down or changing lanes to let a slow-moving truck enter the roadway ahead or something as simple as holding a door for the next person at a store or restaurant. Those common courtesies that make life better for all of us. Hopefully, the recipient will remember the kindness and extend it to the next person they meet.
Some of the best examples you’ll see of paying it forward are at RV rallies. I am always amazed at the number of people who pay to come to an RV rally and then spend time volunteering to work for free to help make the event a success. You’ll see them working on the parking crew, at the registration tables, serving morning coffee and donuts, driving shuttle buses and carts, acting as door prize runners at the evening entertainment, and on and on. They don’t get a penny for their efforts, and sometimes they get a lot of flack from folks when things go wrong, but they just keep right on smiling and doing their thing. They’re paying it forward.
Thought For The Day – The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Jack London