On the last Saturday before Christmas, the number of infections announced in Georgia on that day was as high as 6,144, reaching another peak since the spread of the new crown disease. The sun was shining brightly that day, shopping malls all over the suburbs and surrounding roads were full of traffic, and the shopping malls were overcrowded, creating a strong festive atmosphere.
The 2020 fleeting year is unfavorable, especially for the United States. The epidemic is raging, protests are frequent, and the general elections are drawn out. In the eyes of many people, the decline of the United States is undoubtedly, and it has even revealed its doomsday.
Maybe, it’s just that, as a foreigner in this country that is said to be coming to the end, I feel that I am not sensitive, but I always feel that I am enveloped in a completely different atmosphere.
In early December, when a customer of a DQ restaurant in Minnesota paid for his “drive speed” order, he asked the window attendant how much the meal was on the car behind him and paid for it together. The customers who got the free meal were surprised, and they went along and paid for the customers behind them. It lasted for three days. A total of 900 people paid for meals for people they didn’t know each other.
This story is not uncommon in the United States. It is played out on the land of the United States almost every day and every time in a slightly different way. Some people leave high tips after eating; some give out cash in the mall; some provide free food, and there are so many different things. Those with high vigilance may even question that the DQ incident is nothing but hype: almost everyone pays for meals, but just changes the payment object. However, Minnesota was the state where Police Officer Shavin was suspected of suffocating Freud with his knees at the beginning of the year, causing national protests. Although good deeds are small, the recipient may be friends and relatives. In this way, the social significance of such a small kind is no small thing.
The customers of the DQ store are doing good to the people behind them. This practice is called pay it forward in English. Traditionally, to benefit from others, it is necessary to know the gratitude and repay. However, the object of repayment is the original donor, so it is called pay itback, which is repaying. Although pay it forward is also due to gratitude, it means repaying, but the object of repaying is irrelevant people, so it has social significance and has a diffusion effect.
The idea of ”doing good in the future” has been around for a long time, but it has gradually become a social trend because of a movie of the same name 20 years ago. Some volunteers launched the “Day of Good Deeds to the Future”, calling on people to do a good deed without repaying on April 28. People from 86 countries have participated in the event. The short-term goal is to have 10 million good deeds around the world in 2021.
Most people who see the decline of the United States firmly believe that a laissez-faire society will inevitably lead to selfish desires, moral corruption, and social collapse. However, this is just to save others by oneself, forgetting that human nature has a stronger impulse to improve oneself, benefit others, and contribute to society, especially after people are the masters of the country and have the sense of ownership. The United States, which is mixed with all ethnic groups, has a high degree of social trust, and it does not come out of thin air.
From Thanksgiving in late November to Christmas on December 25, it is usually called The Giving Season. Using Google to search pay it forward news, nearly 1.5 billion results were obtained, many of which are DQ store-style stories. However, “doing good in the future” is just one kind of many good deeds. Most American families hold family meetings with their children at this time to make annual donation plans. In 2019, private donations in the United States amounted to US$449.6 billion (not including random donations), which is US$1,370 per capita.
Americans who lack vigilance may not be able to defeat the invisible virus without the help of vaccines. However, they risked the epidemic to squeeze the store to buy holiday gifts for others.