We Gave Five People $50 And Told Them They Couldn't Spend Any Of It On Themselves. This Is What They Did.

The results were, well, priceless.

What would you do if you were given $50 ... and couldn't spend one cent of it on yourself?


A Plus challenged three people to do just that — and the results were, well, priceless

After receiving their cash, each person thought about how they would've used the money to benefit themselves and, instead, did that for strangers. This is how they paid it forward — literally: 

1. Hand out flowers with positive affirmations attached.

Mao Hanada, a university student and part-time restaurant hostess, used her money to buy a bouquet of flowers and writing materials. After writing a bunch of positive notes, she fastened one to each flower in the bouquet, then hit the streets.

As strangers walked by, she handed out flower after flower, surprising and delighting everyone. "A lady was suspicious at first, but then she smiled at me," Hanada told A Plus. "I guess she is not used to strangers randomly being kind. That was a memorable reaction for me."

The vivid colors of the flowers and cheerful notes not only brightened the recipients' day but Hanada's as well. "I learned that sometimes small actions can make a big difference," she said. "The people looked at me, and I felt like they were saying, 'You understand me — thank you.' And I did." 

2. Buy someone's prescription for them.

Emily Krichmar, a student at Fordham University, surprised a stranger in line at a pharmacy, offering to pay for her prescription. "This was a blessing," the woman replied. Not only was the woman touched by the random act of kindness, but it inspired her to donate three dollars to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts. By having someone unexpectedly take care of her, she felt compelled to use the money she would've spent on herself taking care of others.

"Her reaction was incredibly sweet. She was so shocked though that it made me think about how people should perform random acts of kindness much more often." Krichmar told A Plus. "... It was a great feeling to know that we made her day just that much better." 

The experience taught both the woman and Krichmar the surprisingly large — and lasting — impact of small actions. "People are often genuinely shocked at human kindness," she added. "And that's something that we, as a society, have to work towards fixing. We really all need to try to be kinder to one another." 

3. Pay for strangers' train tickets.

Knowing how much of a drain public transportation can be on a person's wallet, but how necessary it is for so many people — herself included — Georgetta Buggs decided to use her money to pay for others' train tickets. 

Usually, $50 goes a long way, but in this case, it went further than Buggs could've imagined. "It felt very rewarding to buy the tickets because of the expressions on their faces," she told A Plus, recalling the surprise of one particularly hesitant woman. "... Most people don't expect you to help them. When I went up to her, she said, 'OK, well, what's the catch?' I could understand why she did that ... [but] after I bought the ticket for her, she was really happy." 

Buggs also approached a couple who'd already bought one ticket and, when she offered to buy the other one, she remembered, "The wife said, 'Oh well, since we really don't need it, is it OK if I pay it forward to another family?' " That moment stuck with Buggs long after the social experiment ended. "As I was reflecting on the day ... it just made me think, 'Wow people aren't used to other people being so nice and helpful, but it's good to lend a helping hand.' " 

4. Buy a stranger's groceries.

Frank Jenkins, an actor and Jay-Z impersonator, decided to use his $50 to buy a stranger's groceries. After Jenkins paid for a random woman's groceries, she introduced herself as Maria Niro, and explained that she was filming and directing a movie called Un-War about an artist who is trying to take the anti-war movement global by telling other people's war stories including his own. 

Because she was still trying to fundraise for her film, Niro's personal finances were tight, which her especially thankful for Jenkins' kind gesture. "Watching Maria's reaction was priceless. To know she was truly thankful for my help was an amazing feeling," Jenkins told A Plus. "She acknowledged that it's all about giving back, and it encouraged her to do the same when the opportunity appears." 

"It's surprising when you help someone, it gives them the opportunity to help someone," Jenkins added. "And that creates opportunities to help others, but it initially starts with you." 

5. Pay it forward — literally — at a coffee shop.

Andres Gallardo, an immigrant from Colombia, told A Plus he wanted to use his $50 to pay it forward at a coffee shop. "I feel that in this century we have lost our human side," he explained. "And this kind of reminded me that we have that side, that we can make someone happy. And that makes you feel even better than they are feeling."

Not only were Gallardo's fellow customers surprised by his kind gesture, but the barista especially was amazed. "She was so happy that she even gave me a coffee on the house!" he added. "She said she wanted to thank me for sharing." He also noticed how much his small act of kindness made other people smile. "[It was] probably their first smile of the day —  a good way of starting the day," Gallardo said. 

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is a new ABC show about a down-on-his-luck man who learns how to turn his life around by learning the importance of helping others. Tune in every Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST. 


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