SMC professor 'pays it forward'

It was an ordinary day in Glendora, Calif. for Santa Monica College student Eric William Van Horen when he stopped at a Starbucks drive-thru before heading to school. Eric decided to pay for the customer behind him, which led to every person "paying it forward" to the person behind them in line for the next 10 minutes.

"My first reaction was, wow, I thought things like that never happened," said Van Horen. "I was so moved by the kindness of others I became ecstatic. It made my entire day 150 times better. It was completely worth the $8.41."

SMC speech professor Rosalyn Kahn gave an optional, extra-credit assignment to her students. The assignment was to "pay it forward" in order to prove how the power of random acts of kindness can emotionally affect a person.

The encouragement Kahn offered her students made Van Horen want to be a better person, He said it was more valuable, "rather than just assigning mindless, tedious homework, which does nothing more than pass the time."

Kahn was inspired by Tony Hsieh, creator of the online retailer Zappos and author of "A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose." Kahn said that she read in Hseish's book that he performed a random act of kindness by paying for the groceries of the person behind him as a way to extend happiness.

"I am so moved by this man, and so I wanted to create something positive for my students," said Kahn.

Not only did Kahn want to share the power of random acts of kindness with her students, but she also saw the positive effects it had on them.

"My students are so passionate now and sometimes we can't get around to everyone who wants to share because many of them share more than one act," said Kahn.

For her own act of kindness, Kahn had decided to randomly pass out lemons in the parking lot of the Los Angeles City College as a way to thank the staff for being there on the first week of school.

"Sharing random acts of kindness brings a huge circle of unity," said Kahn.

Chandler Rosemont, one of Kahn's students, helped an elderly man move his scooter at a local Panera Bread upon noticing that he was having trouble with his scooter.

"It made me sad to see how so many people didn't help," said Rosemont.

After hearing all the inspirational stories from her students, Kahn decided to write a book called "Stories From The Classroom."

"I had an internal feeling that I might make a change," said Kahn.

Skya EilandComment