When I wrote “Paying It Forward”, I did so with basically two ideas in mind: that something that happened to me as a kid affected me as an adult, and that doing something for someone else felt really good. What I didn’t expect were all the nice comments, and the different things that people got from the story. It made me look at it in a whole different light. I’m not a special or particularly generous person, I’m just an average Jane who wanted to do what I could to help out a friend in a bad situation not of her own doing.
Writing the story behind “Paying It Forward” will be difficult. Although it has been years, I am still extremely angry about it. However, the story conveys a powerful message and needs to be told. In order to protect their identities (it was in the newspapers), I will change a few minor things, but remember this: it could be anyone. It could be your neighbor. It could be your friend. It could be your coworker. I consider myself to be a pretty good judge of character, but this completely blew me away.
Once there was a typical family in a typical neighborhood: Father, Mother and kids. Father and Mother worked hard in their full-time jobs to provide for their kids. Father and Mother had lots of friends and often had everyone over for barbeques.
One day, I realized that I had not heard from Father or Mother for awhile, so I gave them a call. Mother answered and delivered some shocking news: Father was in jail, awaiting sentencing. I can’t even say the word, but just imagine the absolute worst thing a father could do to his children, short of killing them. Yes, that. Mother had no idea and was understandably in shock. Grossly mistaking shock for complicity, the state took the kids away from Mother. Long story short, she had to spend a lot of time and money to get the kids back. To add insult to injury, she had to spend additional time and money to get full custody of the kids. That’s right: a person convicted of horrific crimes against his children does not automatically lose custody.
Father is in prison for a long time, but not long enough. If he ever comes around again, I will not hesitate to inform everyone I can what he has done. I don’t care if he serves his time. What he did there is no atoning for. This pathetic excuse for a human is evil through and through. Any suffering he experiences is nothing compared to what he did to his children.
There’s actually a fairly good ending to the story. Mother has remarried. Okay, so I don’t like him because he’s pompous. That doesn’t matter. However, I do give him a huge amount of credit for taking on an emotionally and physically damaged family that will need therapy for years to come. Mother and kids are happy, safe and loved. That’s all that matters.