Pay It Forward: When a Good Deed Gets Passed On

Portland gym offers free membership
By Amy Duncan, Epoch Times
June 23, 2013 Updated: April 13, 2016

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book Pay It Forward, which also became a Hollywood film, has inspired millions of people around the world to follow the actions of the main character—a young boy who creates a system of good deeds.

The idea is to help one, two or three people in need, and instead of them returning the favour, they are asked to “pay the deed forward” by helping someone else when the opportunity presents itself. This creates a networking effect of good deeds throughout society.

The latest set of deeds comes from a gym in Portland, Oregon, US. Beast Fit Nation is offering its members free work-outs—the catch is that gym-goers have to pay it forward.

“[It’s] the world’s first free gym. Everything is free; you don’t have to pay me a dollar,” said gym owner Sergio Jones, according to Portland news channel KWG. “All you have to do is promise me you’ll do three random acts of kindness after you leave. You will help out somebody else.”

In the last five years since its inception, the Pay It Forward movement has inspired millions of kind acts in over 120 countries.

Former owner of a successful manufacturing company and now president of the Global Pay it Forward movement, Charley Johnson found himself dissatisfied with the humdrum of the business world.

“I had the house, the car, the money. I thought this would make me immensely happy—it didn’t.”

His discontentment and yearning to make a difference led him to leave his successful business and dedicate himself to promoting random acts of kindness.

“This is such a neutral movement; it’s something that all 7 billion people on this planet can be a part of because of its simplicity and that money is not needed to make this world better—with simple, small acts that anyone can be a part of.”

While people are encouraged to be creative, anyone can start with a good deed, like paying for someone’s cup of coffee, toll or food to just helping out someone in need.

Pay it Forward Day is celebrated every year in late April. To find out more about the movement, visit