When she realized she could no longer afford her dream wedding, Megan Erickson didn't waste time feeling sorry for herself. She decided to do something nice for another bride instead, setting in motion a chain of generosity that landed her a free wedding.
Des Moines local news station WHO-TV reported Sunday that Erickson and her fiancé, Jarrod Vancannon, decided to call off their wedding when money became tight after Vancannon was injured on the job. Erickson had put $100 down on a wedding dress at local salon Pure Bridal, but when she realized she couldn't afford it, she asked the store to give that $100 to the next bride to buy a dress.
Inspired by Erickson's act of kindness, Pure Bridal owner Rita Gartin gathered 24 donations from local wedding vendors so that Erickson and Vancannon could have the wedding of their dreams -- for free. Everything from the venue to the food to the invitations was paid for.
"We knew how much that $100 meant to her and we were so inspired by her act of kindness that we decided to purchase her wedding gown for her without her knowing," Pure Bridal wrote on their Facebook page Sunday. "After talking about it more, we had the idea to see if any of our favorite vendors would be willing to help out in some way, and it was amazing how many local businesses were overjoyed to donate something towards their wedding!"
Erickson was presented with the donations while she was modeling dresses at a Des Moines bridal show.
"I don't know what to say," Erickson told loca news station KCCI. "They got me. I'm pranked, punked."
Watch the video above for more on this bride's acts of kindness.
Another bride "paid it forward" last year when she donated her wedding dress to a deserving bride, who then promised to donate the dress after she wears it.
Check out eight more "pay it forward" acts in the slideshow below.
Feel-Good Day At Court
According to a post by TopSoulMan, about three years ago, he showed up in court to fight a speeding ticket -- politely. "I just [said] 'Yes, Your Honor' and 'No, Your Honor' until the cows come home," he wrote. "He tells me there is nothing he can do." But when he went to the counter to pay the fine, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76wu1x">the judge had waived the ticket</a>, which he said inspired him to do something nice. "I tipped the next person I saw $20 on a $3 bill."
A Holiday Tradition Of Kindness
User Laeryken explained how his family <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76wyl6">makes a tradition</a> of paying it forward: <blockquote>My family does stuff like this every year. Sometimes it's meals at restaurants for a family, other times it's paying for coffee or movie tickets for the person behind you. It's amazing when it starts a chain reaction like that. Another thing that I highly recommend is going to a 24/hr place for dessert late on Christmas Eve. We usually go to Denny's. Order dessert and drop a really big tip on the server. We usually give a big tip to the busboy, too.</blockquote>
One day, Databalz showed up to the local car wash and decided to pay more than what was owed: "I paid 30 feeling generous and told the cashier that the next car should get full clean interior with a wax wash." Two weeks later, Databalz went for another wash -- only to learn the extra money was <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76wxce"><em>still</em> being paid forward</a>.
User ezArnold, who worked retail in college, shared a story from a memorable holiday season that would have otherwise been unenjoyable and chaotic: "One of the customers who had finished with their transaction asked if they were <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76x914">allowed to hold on to their coupon</a> they just used," wrote ezArnold. "I replied that they were, and the customer turned around and handed it to the person behind her." Each customer continued to pay it forward for approximately 45 minutes. "The people who had received it looked really thankful," ezArnold said.
Sweet Girl's Patience Pays Off
A mom who couldn't afford to buy the presents on her daughter's wish list received an act of kindness from another shopper. "I don't really need any of them mommy," a young girl said while <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76xz4d?context=3">holiday shopping with her cash-strapped mother</a>, according to a comment by jasminesk, who was working at the store. "The mom looked completely heartbroken, and also so grateful for a daughter who wasn't throwing a tantrum," jasminesk wrote. "This ADORABLE, ancient man who was in the store asked me to get the mom's name and phone number and tell her we were having a raffle, so I did." "He then paid for every single item on the little girl's list."
Take A Quarter
"I am a college student and <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c771if9">finding quarters for doing laundry is always a pain</a>," wrote blackcoffee_91. "So every time I wash a load I leave some quarters in the washer so the next guy who comes along gets a free load." "I know it's a really really small thing (only 75 cents) but maybe someone's day is made a little better because of the convenience."
Casting Off Kindness
"Just the other day I went down to our local fishing hole with two friends and a casting net," TomahawkDrop wrote. "We got a couple shrimp, but <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76xsdr?context=3">were obviously struggling</a>." He said a nearby group, who had plenty of gear and were successfully catching crabs, stopped to help. They "gave us their lines, bait, net, and even their beer, and let us go to town," BennyHarassi said. When thanked for their hospitality, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c776998">which resulted in 20 crabs to bring home</a>, one group member replied, "just paying it forward."
Drinks On Me
During a night out with friends, RPh_JF17 witnessed several patrons at a local bar pay it forward. It began when he struck up a conversation at the bar with a man who offered to pick up his tab. RPh_JF17 replied that he was paying for a large group, so couldn't accept such a generous favor. <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/13stgf/the_car_ahead_of_me_paid_for_my_coffee_this/c76wrz3?context=3">But the man was undeterred</a>. Then, several people who overheard the exchange continued to pay for the groups ahead of them -- so many times, he said, that the bartenders had trouble keeping up. "About 12 different people have bought drinks for other people/groups now at that time all because of the simple generosity that was first shown," RPh_JF17 wrote.