Pay It Forward - What If They Don't Collect?

Commercial Real Estate Agent with Purchase Realty Group 41499

Pay It Forward - What If They Don't Collect? Sometimes our random acts of kindness fall upon a beneficiary who doesn't take advantage of them. What should we do, then?

We had a lot of grass & weeds in our planter around our flagpole at our office building. I own half of the corporation that owns the building. I used to own the business. Now, I just work there. The present Tenant, who is the Broker I now work for pays his share Coldwell Banker Purchase Realty Groupof the CAM (Common Area Maintenance), along with the second Tenant. So, it doesn't actually cost me anything to get rid of weeds. Still, I try to be frugal with the money.

OK, is that all clear?

So, with all that in mind, I was trying to commit a random act of kindness by seeking out a teenager who needed money to do the work. More effort on my part, but worth the end results. Get rid of the weeds, don't spend extra money over what a business would charge me, and help someone out. Sounds simple.

So, I picked out a young man from our church who is a great guy, but who had his life interrupted by not believing all of us adults who warned that pre-marital sex was a bad idea. Get the idea? He had a son at the young age of sixteen. He's working to help pay expenses to his son's mother, who doesn't really want him in their lives.

I explained the deal. Get the weeds out. Rake the mulch around. Make the office manager happy. He agreed to do it this Monday & Tuesday, his days off from his job at Chic-Fil-A. Everything's wonderful.

Tuesday, my partner in the corporation called me to discuss the lack of weed disappearance. Some had, some hadn't. She is ready to call a professional. I can't argue.

So now, do I give up on trying to Pay-It-Forward with random acts of kindness? No, I don't think that is a very good solution.

Do I help him learn a lesson by suffering in the hot sun, for whatever time he did suffer, without pay, since I had to pay someone else more money to do the same job he should have already done? Do I pay him, anyway, costing my Tenants more than it should to get rid of weeds? Should I pay him out of my pocket to avoid double-dipping my Tenants, and write it off to lessons learned?

What do you think?

Posted by


Donnie McKinney CCIM

Coldwell Banker Commercial

Purchase Realty Group

3906 Hinkleville Road

Paducah KY 42001




Comments (10)

Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Pay him after he finishes the job to the satisfaction of everyone. 


Aug 06, 2011 06:12 AM
Kym Wright
Prudential California Realty - Olivenhain, CA

I agree with Christina,  he won't learn the lesson unless you tell him the situation.  Unfortunately your pay it forward was not giving him the job, but teaching him a job done correctly gets the reward.  It is his choice if he chooses to take your act of kindness, because that is what it is.  Most people would be very rude or just not pay.  You are taking him aside and explaining the situation.  Perhaps he is just as lazy at his other job and unknowingly is on the brink of losing a job?  Just possibilities!

Aug 06, 2011 06:29 AM
Donnie McKinney
Purchase Realty Group - Paducah, KY
Donnie McKinney CCIM, Purchase Realty Group

Mel, Christina & Kym, thanks for your comments. One point of clarification - the job is already done. My partner hired someone else to do it. And, one thing I left out - when I told him I wasn't happy with him failing to do what he told me he would do, he mentioned that he had his son for a while on Tuesday (the second day), with which I can sympathize.

But, then after going to play soccer with some friends, it got dark on him. Hmm. Soccer?

You're right. It's now my responsibility to take his failure to act responsibly and make it into a positive experience.

I'm still debating on whether it will do him more good to pay him, anyway, AFTER helping him understand why it's so important to his success in life to always do what one says he will do, or if the lesson will have more impact by his having wasted two trips and not getting paid.

Aug 06, 2011 09:14 AM
Michael J. Gallo
Florida Luxury Realty - New Port Richey, FL
Florida Luxury Realty - Gulf Home Sales Team

If I understand this a young able bodied boy had two days to weed a flower bed and rake some much and was unable to complete in 2 days what should have taken a few hours?  I would not pay him.  I would explain to him that the world does not work that way.  You can not say you are going to do something, get all the glory and not do it and still expect the reward.   This boy needs a slap of reality and not kidd gloves. 


Aug 18, 2011 04:21 AM
Donnie McKinney
Purchase Realty Group - Paducah, KY
Donnie McKinney CCIM, Purchase Realty Group

You are right. And, that's what I've decided to do. I haven't had the opportunity to have the heart-to-heart with him, yet, but I intend to soon ;)

Aug 18, 2011 04:32 AM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I agree with Christina, too.  I hope you have that opportunity soon.

Aug 20, 2011 11:48 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

I respect what you did and I would like to think you would give him another opportunity to prove himself.  Is there some other odd job he could do and prove his worth?  I think that would be a WIN/WIN .

Aug 21, 2011 06:53 AM
Donnie McKinney
Purchase Realty Group - Paducah, KY
Donnie McKinney CCIM, Purchase Realty Group

Suzanne, Susan, thanks for your comments. Yes, I will definitely give him another chance. I like for things to be WIN/WIN ;)

Aug 21, 2011 03:51 PM
EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat
Russel Ray Photos - San Diego, CA

I would pay him, with admonishment, and write it off as lessons learned and, on your part, a second Pay It Forward.

Aug 30, 2011 01:58 PM