Zia Hassan

Paid Forward

I was in a Barnes and Noble once browsing the history shelves. I was teaching a fourth grade unit on the revolution, something I hadn’t really absorbed much as a child, and I wanted to become somewhat of an expert. Hamilton (the musical) had just come out, which helped aid some of my work with the students. I remember telling them that it would be one of the most important musicals of all time.

One of the books I pulled out was Meecham’s book on Thomas Jefferson. As I was looking at the book, a lady stopped by and said “that’s one of my favorites.” 

“Really? I’m trying to teach my students about the revolution. Was just looking through some of these books…”

“Get that one,” she said. “Trust me. I’m a history buff. It’s fantastic.”

After a little more looking, I ended up figuring that I’d go online to find more reviews and resources about what I should read. As I came down the escalator, the woman that had approached me was standing there with a bag.

“Here,” she said. Inside the bag was the Jefferson book.

“Wow. Thanks. Can I get your name, at least?”

“Nope,” she said.

And then we were both off. I still haven’t read the book. But the experience of connecting with someone and receiving an anonymous gift was invigorating. I await the next time that I can receive or give a gift in this way.