Tyson Crawley was having one of those days. Here he was, standing at the checkout and racking his brains about what to do next. But it was a tricky situation, and he really needed to get to work. Then, out of nowhere, a man approached and offered to help.
This story took place in 2016 when Tyson Crawley, who hails from Albury, Australia, had something unbelievable happen to him while he found himself in a spot of bother at a gas station. And the incident, of course, quickly went viral on social media.
So what happened? Well, Crawley was on his way to work when he stopped to fill up on gas. Before he paid, then, he grabbed some coffee and headed over to the checkout. And that’s when he realized that he was going to have a problem.
You see, the night before, Crawley had moved all of his cash into a new bank account – and left the corresponding bank card at home. So he whipped out another card instead, and yet he quickly discovered that he had forgotten his PIN.
Unfortunately for Crawley, he didn’t have any cash in his wallet, either. At this point, then, it looked like he was running rapidly out of options – and the situation was starting to get very embarrassing.
“My dog was barking wildly, I had to get to work, and I was starting to freak,” Crawley explained in a Facebook post. But while he stood there unsure of what to do, he spotted a man coming back into the shop.
Crawley recognized the guy as the customer who had been in front of him in the line. The man walked over to him and said something that Crawley just didn’t see coming. He asked, “Do you need some money?”
However, Crawley declined the man’s kind offer, explaining that he did have the money – he just couldn’t remember his PIN. But the stranger was insistent. “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” he said. “I can help a brother out, can’t I?”
Crawley and the cashier were both as shocked as each other. And so, after Crawley eventually agreed to the generous offer, the anonymous man settled his bill for him. It wasn’t a trivial amount, either, as it amounted to nearly AUS $110, or around U.S. $88.
Crawley thanked the man profusely and was determined to make it up to him. “Please, mate, give me your number,” he said. “I will contact you and pay you back immediately.”
So the man took a pen from the cashier and scribbled on the back of the receipt before handing it to Crawley. Crawley still couldn’t believe this man’s generosity, though, and he asked for a quick photograph with him.
The man obliged and then left the shop saying, “Have a good day.” That’s when Crawley glanced at what the man had written on the back of the receipt – and was blown away all over again. It turned out that the man hadn’t written down his phone number at all.
No, the man had simply written, “John. Pass it on.” Crawley couldn’t believe that the man had not only not left his contact details, but that he’d also just asked for Crawley to help someone else in need in the future.
In fact, Crawley was left so stunned by the encounter that he wrote about it on Facebook. He even uploaded the photo of him and the mystery guy at the gas station, along with a photograph of the message left on the receipt.
And it didn’t take long for the post to gather some momentum. In fact, as the story circulated further and further, it became apparent that the benevolent man wasn’t such a stranger after all.
That’s right, the man who signed himself “John” was actually John Kennedy Jr., an ice hockey pro. Turning out for the Newcastle North Stars, Kennedy was originally from Michigan but relocated to New South Wales, Australia, for the sport.
“I saw a brother in need and just wanted to help,” Kennedy told ABC News Australia about the incident. He further explained that he had recently been through a tough patch in his own life, and it was that which inspired him to do the good deed.
Meanwhile, when speaking to Today, Crawley said, “I was just incredibly overwhelmed… I couldn’t believe how beautiful and kind people could be.” And, more recently, Crawley has made sure to follow Kennedy’s instructions.
Indeed, he has since returned to the same gas station and paid for someone else’s fuel. He also copied Kennedy’s trick by writing on the receipt, “Tyson. Pass it on” – just like Kennedy had done for him. Crawley hopes that his story will inspire others to be kind to one another.
Crawley and Kennedy have also been in touch with each other since their chance meeting. What’s more, Crawley told Mashable that both men “have been absolutely blown away by the response, it’s such a positive effect.” Here’s hoping that the “pay it forward” chain they started is still going strong.