Paying it forward: an anonymous love story to raise your spirits

For today’s boost I want to share a story that moved me about, well, love in the time of COVID-19.

As you know, I’ve been writing for several days about ways that we can help families in Costa Rica during this crisis by supporting small businesses and community organizations – including paying for services now that you won’t use until later, when tourism resumes. A reader in the United States, who asked that she and her beneficiary remain anonymous, wrote back to me. She said that she and her husband visited Costa Rica last year and became friends with the man who provided their transportation while they were visiting a rural area of the country.

“He is such an amazing person,” she wrote. “Our Spanish is terrible but his English is excellent. He taught us so much about Costa Rica, took us to the greatest sodas and introduced us to his family.”

This reader added that she was very worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on this man. His work as a private driver for tourists supports four children, his wife, sister, mother and two brothers. This week, this woman and her husband decided to send him $500 – not as a gift, which would have made him very uncomfortable, but as advance payment on two round-trip drives in the future, once they are able to visit Costa Rica again.

I am so overwhelmed by this woman’s kindness. It’s one thing to suggest something to benefit the country where you live, and quite another to see someone take the time to do it from afar, when we all have our hands full with the challenges facing our own families and communities.

“Ticos and Ticas are the kindest people we have ever met,” she wrote to me. I would answer her: they are, and you understood that kindness because it’s a language you already spoke. You received the kindness that you yourself exude.

Thank you, dear reader, for taking this man and his family and his country into your heart in such a beautiful way.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! During the COVID-19 crisis I’m focusing on slices of Costa Rican life that people can enjoy virtually during these tough times. If you see a great Costa Rica cam, FB Live, online class, photo series or other gem being shared from Costa Rica, let me know! If you want to learn more about how to support Costa Rica during the crisis, visit my COVID-19 section, updated regularly.


3 thoughts on “Paying it forward: an anonymous love story to raise your spirits

  1. Thank you for sharing, Katherine. It goes to show you that visiting Costa Rica and meeting the people has an impact on our spirit and psyche. Yes, we have an awful lot to deal with here in Chicago and relatives are starting to panic about employment, food and rent. As you know my father passed away three days after I arrived in Central America. A week after returning my aunt passed who loved Costa Rica. I’m making a personal donation to Jonathan and The Green Communities team because they in their own way warmed my aching heart while on our adventure. If I could, I would love to give to all our Costa Rica friends.


  2. Thank You for posting this Katherine. I hope it will inspire others to do the same. We sent $500. The hardest part was trying to find a way to do it. Scotia Bank is 20 minutes away in Canada and that transfer would have been easy. But the border is closed! Eduardo does not have a Pay Pal account. We thought about TransferWise but they hold the money four days and we weren’t sure about them. Eduardo suggested Zelle but our small bank is not on Zelle’s list. So we went with Western Union who charges enormous fees .Disappointing at a time like this. That search was very frustrating but we are satisfied now to know that Easter customs will be preserved, bills will be paid, seeds will be planted and Nikki , age 18 will have her copy of Fearless Ticas. 🤩 and we are looking forward for this all to be over so we can come back and enjoy some Costa Rican tamales.

    Many Blessings to you and your family Robbie

    “In the midst of the madness of our world, hearts are breaking open, people are blossoming, and the golden soul of humanity is rising up. Never doubt it for an instant. Seek it out and nurture it.” Rivera Sun



  3. That’s such a lovely story! We were planning on visiting Bijagua this weekend (for reporting and social distancing in the forest), only to find that all three hotels we contacted were already closing due to the crisis. It’s stunning how quickly things changed.


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