Paying It Forward: The Panda Edition

Here’s a warning: this story of paying it forward begins with a cute panda bear toy…and might end with you grabbing a box of tissues.

When you think of the concept of paying it forward, you probably wouldn’t think about stuffed animals, but that’s where this heartwarming story begins, so it’s where we’ll begin as well.

Imagine the scene: you’re walking down a toy aisle and discover a stuffed Panda bear. And then you notice a child’s handwriting on the box:

“My mum didn’t have enough money to buy me pandy so she’s buying me pandy on 15th June so please don’t buy him as it will make me sad and I will cry, thank you so much from hopeful future owner.”

This happened in Liverpool, England, and when store officials were alerted to the message, they decided to brighten the child’s day. Together, they raised the purchase price for the toy and were ready and waiting for the child to be identified after one of the store’s employees posted the photo of the message to Facebook and local news media ran the story.

The child’s mother saw coverage of it, recognized the handwriting of her son, Leon, and took him to the store for the sweet moment when he received his “Pandy.”

That could have very well been the end of the story.

It wasn’t.

The family has gone through a very difficult time in the loss of another child, and the boy who left the message on the box said the gesture made it “the best day of his life.”

His mother then posted that Leon had donated the $20 he managed to raise for the panda bear to the very organization that helped his family during the loss of his sibling.

But two happy twists in this story still aren’t enough. The Liverpool Echo picks up the story from there, with the family appearing on a TV program called This Morning.

The hosts surprised Leon and his mother with news that British Airways is sending the family to China where they can see real Panda bears in honor of Leon’s good deed and love for the cuddly-looking bears.

Isn’t it wonderful how a kind gesture can lead to so much more? We’re quick to focus on the negative these days.

But there are still good people out there, and there are still dreams that do come true once in a while.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.