More than a goodwill movement, or the subject of a book or movie, “pay it forward” has been applied to everyday life during the pandemic. Our publisher was inspired when she was surprised over the Mother’s Day weekend by a gentleman who paid for her groceries.
But what inspired the initial goodwill?
“Since the pandemic, I sort have begun feeing kind of helpless and wanting to be a part of the process,” Tony Scott said. “But I’m sitting in this wheelchair, what can I do? What can I do?”
Scott, 52, noticed that seniors were having a difficult time during the crisis.
“My grandmother was an inspiration in my life,” he said. “I started by buying groceries for seniors. I went to Ralphs grocery store on Obama and LaBrea. The first time was Good Friday. I was celebrating my 21st re-birthday. Of being in a wheel- chair 21 years. I wanted to celebrate that moment and do something for seniors.”
On April 9, 1999, Scott was walking his dog after a rainstorm. Strong winds were blowing and one of the falling trees—the ones often seen on television crushing a car or a home’s rooftop—hit him in the head.
Scott’s life has not been the same since, but he celebrates that life.
“Because I survived, because God blessed me and brought me through it,” Scott said. “I’m walking in my sprit. I don’t need a caregiver, someone to drive me around, change my clothes, all those things they told me I would need. My grandmother was a smart women. She gave me that early on, that spiritual grounding I needed to get me through my life. That foundation was laid. I fought and I celebrated every year. I have more than overcome. So on April 10, I was at Ralphs.”
That Good Friday, Scott could tell that senior shoppers were getting Easter Sunday dinner preparations.
“Even though we’re in the midst of this horrible pandemic, they still wanted to get together with their immediate family,” Scott said. He started purchasing groceries that morning and didn’t stop until 2 p.m.
Scott remembered his grandmother again as Mother’s Day approached.
“Looking at the news, things weren’t getting better, they were getting worse,” he said. “I went back that Saturday and bought a bunch of long-stemmed roses. I got in good with the florist back there and as fast she could make them, the faster I was giving them out.”
Seniors received those roses and a free shopping trip.
“The cashiers were wonderful calling me out, ‘I’ve got a senior over here’” Scott said. “It was just that great, wonderful thing that made us all feel good.”
Some seniors were shocked and others asked where were the hidden cameras.
“No cameras,” Scott told them. “Just a little Black boy in a wheelchair trying to do good. It was really about just feeling helpless while people are hurting.
“I don’t know, it was something I was compelled to do,” Scott said. I was really doing this because this was what my grandmother raised me to do. She was an inspiration I just felt compelled to do it. It made me feel part of the solution.”