Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 5:18

I know, part of it. You’re, it’s anonymous, so you don’t want them to know. But I’m curious to you, you. You

Aaron Walker 5:26

know, over the years, people figured out because now we pick up the whole restaurant, we just say, hey, if they come in, and we’re here, we’ll, we’ll get their check. And a lot of people eventually kind of figured out, you know, I’m sitting there with five grandkids. And, you know, they bring in me the stack of checks. And so some people figured out, they come walking up and they’ll say, hey, we want to thank you for breakfast, and we’ll go, Hey, thank you. But we’re really trying to do this anonymously. But I’ll go in and tell them what we’re doing. Now that we’re busted, right? I’ll go ahead and tell him what we’re doing. And it is amazing, Jeremy at how the other people are so grateful. And they say, you know, I’m going to go out and pay this forward. I’m going to go out and find somebody even last year, when we were sitting there at the Waffle House, this guy was up there paying my oldest granddaughter, her name’s Abby, Abby walked up to me. She said, Hey, Big A, they’re up there paying. And I said, Oh, hold on. So I jumped up. And I ran up to the register. And I told the cashier, I said, Hey, I’ve got his, and the guy goes, Are you the guy that bought ours? And I said, What? He said, somebody else came in, and I’m buying theirs. And I went, Yes, yes, that’s what it’s all about right there. So my grandkids got to see somebody paying it forward in person, which made a real impression on them. And since then, that’s kind of morphed into others. And so I know I’m being a little sporadic here. But we’ll jump around because

Jeremy Weisz 6:45

No, that’s perfect.

Aaron Walker 6:46

Yeah, tell you other stories and how things happen. But no, the intention is not to draw attention to ourselves. The intention is for them to do this anonymously, right, because we want to teach them to be generous without the notoriety without the, you know, hey, way to go, we just want to teach it, because it’s the right thing to do. And so after we leave there, we always go to Walmart or Target or somewhere like that, and we’ll buy buggy loads of cookies, or we’ll buy like toys and things like that. So we’ll go to the nursing home, there’s a bunch of nursing homes here. And we’ll go around and visit the senior adults, and we’ll give them cookies or candy, and the grandkids will play cards with them or checkers, or they’ll color with them. And over the years, they’ll start weeks in advance. And they’ll write little letters to some of the senior adults, they’ll COVID kind of took that away this year. And last year, we weren’t able to go, but they’ll color little pictures for them. And these people will hang it up in their rooms, you know, with the nursing homes, and you’re just building this report with these people. And then you go back year after year, they kind of get used to seeing them and they you know, watch the grandkids grow up. And then these kids are seeing the senior adults and they’re getting a great appreciation for a lifestyle that they get an opportunity to live that a lot of people don’t get to live, they just don’t you know, they’re bound in these nursing homes, they’re in some housing situations that our grandkids are fortunate enough not to have to live in and want them to see, you know, the way some people have to live. And I want them to do it because they genuinely want to help these people. It’s not something they’re being made to do, they don’t have to go every year. So we’ll do that. We’ll go to the nursing homes, and then we’ll go to like Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and we’ll give away toys to the kids or then we’ll leave there and we’ll go by like one of the donut places either, you know Krispy Kreme doughnuts or one of the donut places and we’ll get several dozen donuts. We’ll leave there and go back to the hospitals. We’ll go to the waiting rooms and we’ll give doughnuts away to the people that are waiting on people to have surgery made. I didn’t realize how many people had surgery on Black Friday, but surgery, you know, a respecter of no one. So they have to do surgery a certain times. And people are always asking us who are you? Why are you doing this and we never tell them who we are. But we always tell them why we’re doing it in this to teach our grandchildren to be generous. And then after that we’ll go to like some of the department stores and a lot of people don’t even know what this is. But a lot of people have to put things on layaway. They put a deposit down and they are not able to pay for it all at once they have to make payments and we’ve paid people’s layaways all for we’ll get behind them some senior adult at Walmart or some family that looks like they have two or three children and they’ll bring up all their groceries and we’ll say hey, we got this you know and we’ll pay for it. A lot of people are listening to this right now and they’re going well big A we don’t have the kind of money that you’ve got and we can’t do that but that’s not true. I mean, you doesn’t cost anything to go to the nursing home or go to the hospital and visit with people or go to a community that’s underprivileged and even give away some toys that were your children’s toys. You know that they’ve outgrown or something like that. It doesn’t take money to do the things that we’re doing. So I want to be sure that I leave the right impression with you. And I always say that money doesn’t change the heart, it magnifies what’s already there. And a lot of people say, Well, I would do it if I had a lot of money. But if you’re not doing it now, you probably wouldn’t do it if you had a lot of money. And so it’s a matter of the heart, Jeremy. And so that’s what we’re trying to teach our grandchildren to do.

Jeremy Weisz 10:26

Yeah, because it’s a time thing to where they’re going and visiting at the elderly homes. And, and they’re actually, you know, for those particular things, you could donate your time, or like you said, you may have stuff laying around the house that you don’t use, and going and donate it or give it away.

Aaron Walker 10:47

Sure, just go and have the thing that’s cool is is doing it anonymously as you can, but then not trying to take the accolades. And hey, look at me, and look what we’re doing it we’re teaching these children to really develop a heart that compassionate a heart for people. A lot of people listening to this right now are very wealthy, I’m sure and they’re able to do as much or more than we’ve done by far. But what’s cool, Jeremy is that, you know, we lead iron sharpens iron mastermind, and we have about 150 160 members in our mastermind groups, we have about 18 groups. And I started sharing this in the mastermind, and a lot of the people in there said, Man, we never do anything with our kids like that. We never do anything with our grandkids like that. So it started a little bit of a movement, because we’re in about six or seven different countries now. So people all over the world literally have taken this approach. And last year, one of our members said that he has three adult daughters and they have a couple of grandkids. He said they went to the bank and they got a whole strap of like $10 bills. I don’t He didn’t tell me how much it was. But he stood at the drive thru window at Chick fil A. And every time somebody went through, he would pay for their meal. He said, what he noticed was people circling the building, getting back in line, and then they were buying the person’s meal in front of them person would go through. So it started this circular motion, he said, I would go to pay for somebody to say now you’ve already paid for ours, we’re coming back through, we’re paying for somebody else’s. And so we’ve heard story after story like that of people doing things. And then there was this one guy said he went to a restaurant, he kind of took our cue on the restaurant. And he said he went in and he bought a couple of tables, and somebody in the restaurant got word of what he did. And he bought everybody else’s dinner in the restaurant. And so it’s contagious. And so the point is, is that once you get this thing started, and you start encouraging other people like Jeremy, you texted me earlier, really nice Thanksgiving message and said, Hey, Big A, what are you doing today, my family, and I’ve been out doing some things. And I explained to you what we’re doing and you say it, man, that would be so cool to even do that with my kids, you know, I would love to do something like that. And then you invited me to tell a little bit more about it. That’s what I’m talking about. Once we get to doing things like this, and you share it not to boast. And I’m not doing this to boast at all. I’m doing this to encourage other people to do it. It’s just so gratifying for yourself. And then it starts kind of a movement. But now we’ve got I don’t know Jeremy, how many people literally all over the world practicing gratitude day each and every year.

Jeremy Weisz 13:26

Yeah, what I love about that is it’s just sometimes we just get at least i you i get busy with my daily life. And it just like, when they hear that it’s just, we should be doing this. It’s not even coming to our head sometimes myself included. So to hear from you. It just brings it to the forefront. And it could be something simple. I know. My friend Tony G whenever I’m on the phone with him, he’s maybe going through the Starbucks drive thru. He’ll just do it whenever every single time he’s to Starbucks drive thru, and he’s like, oh, yeah, and I’ll just hear him say on pay for the two cars behind me or something. And it’s, you know, could be five or $10. But it is a pay it forward situation where it just, if that happens to that person, they just want to pay for it. And that trickle effect positive trickle effect is huge.

Aaron Walker 14:15

You know, what happens is funny, I guess a lot of people pick Starbucks, we do that also, every time I go there, and I’m there, probably two or three times a week, same way, always catching the person in front of me or we’ll do it at any fast food restaurant that we go to, you know, we always pick up the car behind us or whatever it is. And the thing is, is when you do that people look at you kind of funny, and they’ll go like, why are you doing that? I said, Man, I just want to bless you. He said, What do you mean? I say I just want to bless you. And it starts an amazing conversation every single time. They’ll say, man, where are you from? I was at the Starbucks in the Nashville airport the other day I was traveling, and walked up and did that. And this guy goes, Man, I love that bag you’re carrying. I said, well, thank you. I appreciate that. So he went ahead and ordered and I said hey, I got you And he goes, why? And I said, well, because I just want to Well, we walked up waiting for our coffee, introduced me to his daughter introduced me to his son. We started talking. He’s a nurse at a hospital up in Chicago. And we talked he was here in Nashville to do a wedding and one thing led to another and we exchanged business cards. It’s just a cool way to meet people. And was it cost you 456 bucks, right? It’s nothing. It’s just always be mindful of the people that are around you.

Jeremy Weisz 15:28

I love to hear any stories from your grandkids that you can remember how they reacted, or maybe something they did or how it changed them. And, and I’ll give you a second to think on that. But there’s one of the people I know Penny Cowden. Actually, she’s a board member at the Pay It Forward Foundation. And I was talking to her a couple months ago. And they the foundation I really go I said to Pentagon Yeah, I saw the movie pay for it. She’s like, Yeah, that’s the same person who created that, you know, movement. That script also created the pay forward foundation. It’s one of my, you know, favorite movies because of the concept of paying it forward. So the grandkids. Tell me about tell me a story from them.

Aaron Walker 16:15

Yeah, I can tell you stories, probably for hours. Just thinking of a couple last year, Aubrey is our middle grandchild. She’s 13 years old. And last year, we went out and we spent the entire day doing it for others nothing for ourselves. They’re always like, Hey, big A Can we go get some candy? No, today, this is not about you like this, everything’s about everybody else. And they always know that. But the younger ones always try, you know, the ones that are 567 years old. They always like man, maybe if I just ask them one more time, but you know how kids are. So last year, Aubrey was 12. And she came up to me after we got home, it was late in the afternoon, we got here to the house. And she walked up to me and she hugged me. And she just stood there and hugged me, and I just stood there. Obviously, as a grandparent, you just gonna stand there as long as they want to hug you. And she looked up at me and she said, big A, this has been the happiest day of my life. And I looked at her and I thought what she goes just seeing all their faces, this has been the happiest day of my life. And she just turned around and walked off. And I thought, you know, their, their parents are able to get him things they want. And I’m able to get them things that they want and those kinds of things. But really what made more of an impression on her was seeing the faces of the other children, the faces of those senior adults, when they would sit there and smile. And the senior adults would, Abby even told me a couple years ago, we went to a nursing home, we didn’t even have anybody in that nursing home. And she came up to me, she said they were just so happy to see us. And I said you know Abby, the truth is most senior adults that those nursing homes, they don’t have many people to come and see him. They really don’t a lot of the kids that they have live out of town. And they don’t really have anybody that will just come and hang with them. And when they’re there, oftentimes they’re forgotten. That’s the truth. I hate to say that, but oftentimes, kids will put them there, they’ll either be out of town, or they can or they get their own life going on. And when you just take the time to sit down, they don’t want anything from you, they’re not looking for a gift. They’re not wanting you thing, it’s time, the time is the most valuable thing that we could possibly give them. Ask them how their day is going. And most of them are not having very good days, quite honestly, they spend the vast majority of their time taking medication or some ailment that’s bothering them in for little kids to sit there and write out little cards. And it’s very innocent cards, it’s very innocent. It’s like, Hey, I was just thinking of you today love Oh, and her love Abby are, you know, and they’re like, it brings tears to their eyes. And when we would get in the car, the kids would always say they always seem so happy. When we leave, it’s like they’re just glad we’re here. So Jeremy is just those kinds of stories. It’s never about the amount or it’s never about the gift, you know, the things that my grandchildren see, and we let them be involved in it. You know, like, they’ll say, like, we went today, and we bought a lot of stuff. I think we bought about 18 coats, you know, for all these people, and it adds up, you know, numerically in there, like that’s a lot of money. And I said, Well, we’re just grateful that we’re able to do this, you don’t have to do that amount, it can be a much smaller amount. But if you start now, if you started a very small amount now it’s easy to work your way up. God has just really blessed us over the years, financially or we’ll leave like I left $100 tip at Waffle House. Well, I don’t say that to boast. But you know, most of the time they’re getting 234 bucks on a meal and you leave $100 And the kids are like Wow, big a that’s a lot of money. I say well, yeah, it is a lot of money, but we can do it and we should. Right? It’s just about being generous. We should always be generous. I don’t think kids just Learn that I think they have to be taught. And I think the easiest way, Jeremy to teach that is for it to be called and not taught. I think it’s a lot easier when they see the parents doing at random acts of kindness or being very generous. It’s easy for the child to grow up in that home. And also be generous. And so I think it’s incumbent on us as parents and grandparents to really demonstrate that and model that for our children. And here’s the other thing is that we want to do it for people that can never repay you. You don’t ever want to do it for the wrong motivation to get something you want to do it for people that can never repay you, Jeremy, over the years, we followed people and help people. And when he gives them a little bit of hope and inspiration, they can do a lot better. Oftentimes, people don’t do well, because they don’t have any hope. And when we’re able to help them along, it gives them hope.

Jeremy Weisz 20:54

Yeah, I love that, you know, just a small thing could be life changing for someone else. And also, there’s that trickle effect that huge trickle effect. And, you know, um, and I feel like, the more giving, creates more giving, right, that person is gonna go out and go, Wow, like, what can I do for someone else that someone’s done that for me, so it lives beyond that one, that one gift?

Aaron Walker 21:19

Yeah, you know, what I would love for the audience to do today, if you’re hearing this is just start small, just say, hey, we can’t go out and do all those things. But we’re going to pick a day and we’re going to do it consistently. That’s not the only time of the year we do that. I mean, we’re always practicing generosity throughout the year. And we’re always trying to pay it forward. And in no way and I hope your audience don’t take this as boastful, because we certainly don’t mean it as boastful, we mean, it is encouraging to the audience that’s listening. But just pick a time with your family and say, Hey, we’re going to save 50 or 100 bucks. And we’re going to take that and we’re going to go do something for a family. This year, primarily we focused on one family. I don’t know how long they’ve been in the US, they’re Hispanic. And they don’t speak any English at all. And we have a school teacher that located this family for us. And fortunately, I do speak Spanish. And so I was able to communicate with them once we got there. But there was a household of seven children and three adults in this house was probably 600 square feet total. And two, you know, give everybody a coat and hat and a jersey and then you know, a couple of other shirts and some warm clothes and some other things. The one of the little girls just had a baby and we bought a few cases of diapers and rattlers and outfits and gave them some money and some money for groceries and things like that. And without even speaking English, the smile on their face in the way they were nodding in saying grasses, which is crisis. And I’m like, Hey, listen, I’m just by we’re able to help you and for our children to see that and it gives them a feeling and an inspiration of they want to continue that. So that’s my hope for your audience today is maybe this is a bit of inspiration that you can start a tradition like this, if you want to call it gratitude day you can do that there’s even some clips out there that you can go and see on YouTube and there’s just do hashtag gratitude day and go look and do the same and let’s start a movement. I mean, let’s get this thing going and get it around the world. So yeah, gratitude day

Jeremy Weisz 23:34

Aaron I want to be the first one to thank you it is is when I got that text from you as truly inspirational. And what else can we be doing? Always What I What else can I be doing? What else can my family be doing it whether it’s time or money or whatever it is just to to give it forward to pay it forward. And you know, I just want to thank you for for taking time out of your Black Friday and you’re giving gratitude day where else can people learn more about you? Where should we point them to

Aaron Walker 24:07

you know, if you want to know more you can reach out to me at if you want to know more specifics or any way I can encourage you feel free to reach out to my email and I don’t normally give that out. But Jeremy, you’re a really sharp guy and you got a great audience and I want to be able to help them but just put put an email out to me [email protected] in the subject line just put gratitude day and we’ll reach out to you and help you or encourage you or give you some other ideas you know you had asked me on the text today is there any kind of document put out yet there’s not but I’ll put one but now that now there is that’s why I wanted to do this. Whatever it takes, you know to help your audience to do this. But yeah, to me,

Jeremy Weisz 24:55

I thought this would be a perfect resource to point people towards if they’re Want ideas and inspiration that you know, I’m going to re listen to this and pick up some some things I’m going to do. So,

Aaron Walker 25:08

you know, Jeremy, I just thought of this, and I just remembered it. I just thought of it. But we put together 101 Random Acts of Kindness document. And if you’ll email me at [email protected], I’ll send you that in Jeremy. I’ll send it to you as well, and you can get it out ever. However it would best help you if you want to do it on your show. No,

Jeremy Weisz 25:32

I love it. Yeah, we’ll put it on there.

Aaron Walker 25:34

And 101 random acts of kindness. And we’ll get that to you and it’ll give you a lot of ways that you can go out and be generous.

Jeremy Weisz 25:43

I love it. Thank you, Aaron. Everyone. Enjoy and we’ll see you on the other side.