Daily Archives: April 5, 2009

Caution: May Inspire Kindness


Photo courtesy of DailyChallenge.com

A few weeks ago, I started seeing tweets of monolithic proportions with the hash tag #pibTO.  (For my friends who aren’t familiar with either Twitter or hash tag  <gasp> — you know who you are — look it up!).  Pay It Backward Toronto, or #pibTO in Twitter speak, was an event being put on by Daily Challenge, a local social network for do-gooders.  The idea was to show up at Second Cup on Queen and John Streets and buy a drink for the person – wait for it – in line behind you!  The best part?  100% of the proceeds would benefit Sick Kids Hospital.  All kinds of goodness!


Photo courtesy of DailyChallenge.com

What is Pay It Backward day, you ask?  On an early Wednesday morning in December 2007, a woman (natch) at a Starbucks’ drive-thru in Seattle offered to buy the drink for the customer in line behind her, leaving with it just a simple wish of “happy holidays”.  From this first random act of kindness at 8:00am on Wednesday began a chain of 489 more until 8:00am the next morning.  Stranger after stranger did their part to spread the kindness in the drive-thru and the lobby. Together, they set the unofficial “Pay It Backward” world record of 490 acts of kindness done within a 24 hour period. 

Fast forward to April 4, 2009.  The Daily Challenge team, with help from Toronto’s social media world, decided that our fair city could easily break that record. 

Toronto had torrential downpours the night before the event – as a matter of fact, we broke a 60 year-old rain record — and after the downpour came 70 km/h winds.  I thought no way are people going to go.  But at around 2pm when I finally made it to Second Cup, 244 other people had already shown.  Sweet! The buzz in the air was palpable.  I signed up for my number, got in line, chatted with the people around me, got a medium Earl Grey tea from the very kind person in front of me, bought the very kind person behind me a medium coffee, chatted with my fellow Twits, gave props to the organizers and headed off. 

pay-it-backward-toronto-0062When I happened by about two hours later, the #pibTO line was even longer and everyone was anticipating that the record was about to be broken.  I was at home about 20 minutes later and saw “the” tweet — Toronto had done it!  We had officially crossed the 600 person mark and had broken the world-record for coffee acts of kindness.  Awesome!

I’m so damn proud to have been part of something as cool as Pay It Backward day!  Not only did I get to buy something for a complete stranger – which I realized I’d never actually done before – but got to do something that would greatly benefit an amazing organization like Sick Kids Hospital.   

Everyone knows how much I’m in love with Toronto.  The spirit in this city is absolutely unyielding.  Its oft-mocked moniker of “Toronto the Good” may make some people cringe, but in my opinion, it’s never been more apt than this weekend.  Swoon! 

See the rest of my photos from Pay It Backward Toronto here.


Filed under Canada, Coffee Break, do-gooder

Dear Universe, Was It Something I Said?

pay-it-backward-toronto-011The last four weeks or so have been very tough on me, both personally and professionally.  Various and sundry things seemed to collide into the perfect storm and I’ve had to deal with a lot of shite at once. Let me just say that moving to, and living in, another country is no easy task.  Add to that owning a home while living in another country, dealing with banks and finances in two countries and two currencies, filing taxes in two countries, finding a new place to live, and other fun “life” stuff, and you have a very stressed-out girl.  For those of you who prefer to stay sane and/or keep all of your hair, I don’t recommend it.  😉 

I’m normally a very active person, and am usually out and about living life, but because I’ve been more fatigued than normal, I’ve been spending more time at home.  Way too much time.  Too much time to surf the web (but, a-hem, not blog, for lack of creative juices), watch copious amounts of reality television, and gain five pounds from my experimentation with becoming a couch-potato.  My mea culpa? For any of you whom I’ve inadvertently email ambushed from the frequent web-surfing or not returned your phone call or made you endure hours of endless whining, let me just say…I’M SORRY!  Seriously.  I am. 

I’m not sure what I said or what I did to deserve this round of bad luck.  I thought things only happened in threes, not eights.  Did I spill salt somewhere?  Did I put an umbrella over my head inside?  Did I unknowingly walk under a ladder?  I know I haven’t broken any mirrors, so what?  What is it?!  Whatever it is, I take it back.  All of it.  

Please, universe, please give me a break sometime soon.  I could really, really, really use it. 



Filed under Canada