Unofficial: Pay It Forward Creator Sets out to inspire others
“Every day, you have a choice. You wake up and you can either use that day to make other’s lives better or worse. I choose to do what I can to try and make it better."
Unofficial: Pay it forward
Inspired by a book as a young college student and later by a community that came together in kindness, one young woman seeks to better the world, one act at a time.
As a young college student, Michelle Snook had been given a book by a friend called Pay It Forward.
It is a 1999 Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde in which a boy who believed in the goodness of human nature set out to change the world. The message resonated with her and , while dealing with the trials of being new to college life, and adjusting to the new found separation and distance that came between her, her twin sister, and her newly divorced parents. “The book was about a young boy who was given an assignment to perform a random act of kindness to three people, and ask those who he helped to help 3 more, so that a single act can grow and grow. I was inspired by the idea that no matter how alone we may feel at times, we are all truly, deeply connected, and that we can all make a difference in the lives of others.”
Years later, Michelle had moved on to live in central Illinois as a professional photographer, still carrying with her the impact of the book. In early April of 2014, this community was deeply moved at the death of a young local high school student, Michael Collins. Authorities said he had passed as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident caused by a person charged with aggravated DUI. His friends started a movement of “paying it forward” in his honor. Michael had been an organ donor and known as a kind person. Michelle was just one of the thousands of people who participated in the movement and the Facebook page his friend had created.
Over a year later, Michelle and others were still continuing to “pay it forward”. She found herself sitting in a diner on-looking as a burdened traveler scribbled away in a notebook. Sensing intuitively that something was wrong, she decided it was an opportunity to make a difference. As she attempted to discreetly pay for his bill, another patron noticed what she was doing and explained that she had just witnessed another person pay for a strangers groceries merely days before, and how great it was to see so much good happening in the world. This was when Michelle realized that by bringing light to the acts of kindness, others could be lifted up just by hearing about the good in the world, if not inspired to do the same.
She was inspired to create the “Unofficial: Pay It Forward” Facebook page. Michelle said of the page. “While many random acts of kindness are still going on today, we aren’t hearing about them as much. I wanted to create a forum where people could continue sharing in these moments and acts together. This is a place where people are able to post their own experiences, read others feel good & be inspired to live a little more meaningfully each day.”
Want to share your experience or be inspired by other stories?
You can visit and join the Unofficial: Pay it Forward movement at
There is now a 5K in honor of Michael Collins (#MCSTRONG) You can register here https://register.itsracetime.com/Register/?event=35671
or here http://mcstrong.org/