Good Neighbors

Paying It Forward: Inspiring Story of Kindness Goes Viral

$5 bill found in a book sparks a chain of good deeds


When you do an act of kindness for someone else, most of the time you never know the impact it makes. This case is different.

27-year-old Ashley Jost was shopping at the Target near her home in Columbia. Missouri, when she remembered she and some friends had committed to doing a reading challenge. She grabbed a copy of "Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals" by Rachel Hollis.

When she got home, she started reading, and when she tossed the book down on her ottoman, a $5 bill fell out. As this former reporter investigated, she found a pink Post-It note stuck between two pages with a message written on it: "To the person who buys this book: I am having a tough day. I thought maybe I could brighten someone else's with this little surprise. Go buy a coffee, donut, or a face mask. Practice some self-care today. Remember that you are loved. You are amazing. You are strong. Love, Lisa."

Ashley posted a photo of the note to Twitter, where it got thousands of retweets and likes:

"I thought it takes someone really special to divert the energy and attention on a bad day to improving someone else's," Ashley told the BBC .

Eventually news outlets picked up the story. Jost says many people have been inspired to do their own random acts of kindness, including her father who told her that he was motivated to pay for the groceries of the person standing behind him at the store. Jost also committed to doing her own "$5 RAKs" including leaving her own note and a gift card in a library book.

Ashley's post about a RAK done to her sparked a chain of kindness.

And the happiest ending? Lisa, the author of the pink note, apparently saw all of the coverage and reached out to Ashley, who posted a photo on Twitter, but decided to keep the contents of this note private.

What we do know: by not keeping one act of kindness to herself, Ashley made an exponential impact with Lisa's selfless act. Makes you wonder how many peoples' lives we might touch with just one act of kindness every day?

(Images: Ashley Jost's Twitter page )

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