Local Man's Project Spreads Acts of Kindness

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RENO, NV -- The concept is old: do something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return, but one local man is trying to get the ball rolling again in Reno. His Pay it Forward 2014 project is going viral and is spreading nationwide.

Ryan Sullivan loves to help others. He advises students who want to study abroad as his job and volunteers at shelters when he has extra time, but he wasn't always like this. He says he only cared about himself in high school.

"I kind of had a little bit of an ego and really didn't care how many people I hurt," he said.

That all changed when he started working at the Crisis Call Center, where he helped a young woman out of committing suicide.

"It's really kind of a breaking point in terms of making me see something differently in a positive light and really know that this is what I want to do; this is what makes me happy is helping people," said Sullivan.

Beginning of 2014, he started a nationwide campaign for others to do the same.

"It's not an original idea at all," he said. "I think it's just one of things that people want to do it, I think this is just a good reminder."

Sullivan's effort is called Pay it Forward 2014. The idea is to give without expecting anything in return, like buying coffee for a stranger, hoping that he or she will do the same for someone else. Taylor Ehrhart from Too Soul Tea Company says it happens there at least once a week.

"Someone did it in the morning; it went all day," said Ehrhart. "I think the first time it really surprised me. I was really confused I was like 'why are you doing this?'"

In just three weeks, the Facebook page exploded with fans. Thousands of people have shared how they're paying it forward throughout the country, and challenging others to do the same.

"With everything going on it's just a nice brief moment when you pay it forward, you feel good and the other person feels good too," said Sullivan.

He says his page isn't meant to be a platform for bragging rights, but simply a place for people to share their stories to help put a smile on someone's face.

If you want to spread the kindness or hear about how others are doing it, you can find the Pay it Forward 2014 page attached to Related Links.