I had the strangest experience in 2014. A client sent me a check out of the blue. It was a striking gesture. It came with a phone call saying that he appreciated everything we have done. His business had a great year. It floored me, and my family.

Financially, it made a difference. The amount was significant. It was not trivial – like a tip. More like the kind of bonus that people get that work at companies for a job well done. Of course, I was thankful. But it was transformative.

payforward napkin and coffee cupThis year, I went through a list of companies that made a difference for us last year. You know – the suppliers and vendors that are always fair, great to work with, go out of their way at any time of day to help. I sent them a check. I sent a significant check. I made the same calls and said that I appreciated them, and that our companies had a great year and they were instrumental in that.

Today, another check arrived from the same client. Again, it was accompanied by a phone call of thanks and the news that they had another great year. I was blown away again. You would think that I would be less surprised this year, but I was not. I was reinforced in my resolve to keep paying it forward.

Catherine Ryan Hyde, the author of Pay It Forward lives in our county. I have had the urge to give her a call and take her for coffee. I would really like my 13 year old daughter to meet her, not only to learn about the inspiration for the book – but more for the introduction to a writer.

There is something that touches each of us inside to give. The older you get, the more you learn that giving is much better than receiving. I take little pleasure in Birthday or Christmas gifts, but great pleasure in giving them. This client of mine made me think – we give plenty to our families, our employees, and our customers to recognize the value they represent in our lives, but what about our vendor?

If your business had a good year, take stock of the vendors you worked with last year. You just sent out the 1099s, so it’s an easy list to get your hands on. Stroke a few more checks for the people you love to work with. Pay it forward. You will be glad you did.