A general act of kindness to alleviate someone’s pain or frustration is priceless. But we don’t know what to do when we are in someone else’s debt.
The first reaction is reciprocity. This for that. Make things equal. But it can’t ever be equal. There is no way to measure how grateful you when you are down for the count. There is no yield to calculate unless money or product is changing hands.
The second is to pay it forward. I know this is semantics but I have a hard time with the word “pay”. We don’t do acts of kindness for money, we do it for community. We do it because it is the right thing to do.
The other option is to simply accept the gift. Don’t diminish the work that someone was trying to do. Don’t bring a lousy side salad to a dinner someone spent all day making. Don’t leave a gift card sending a signal for what that person’s time was worth.
Just say thank you. Take the gift.