Pay It Forward
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Pay it Forward - Mr. Johnson
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 02:06 PM CDT
PLEASANT GROVE - You never know when good fortune will come your way.
For some of our Channel Three viewers that good fortune has come in the form of $500.
Our own Lena Deflores makes it happen with a sign, a surprise and our partner Hill-Kelly Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep,
I went to a shopping center parking lot in the Pleasant Grove area with my sign, reading, "I'm giving away $500 ask me how."
Getting Josh Merced to think of the perfect person to surprise with $500 was easy. Even after I told him he couldn't keep the money, give it to a relative or anyone who lives with him.
The *hard part was making this surprise come together.
Josh graduated last year from Pine Forest High School where he was taught, influenced and mentored by Mr. Johnson, a teacher and student government leader who's been at the school since 1984.
"He taught my family. My sister, my mom, my uncles. He's always been there. He taught me socially, academically, how to grow up and he's helped me become the person I am now."
It sounded like Mr. Johnson deserved our surprise of $500 for all he's done for so many young people in our community.
But sometimes, making it happen can be a bit of a challenge.
We have to find everyone, get everyone together, plan a place and time to meet, coordinate with the school and of course, call Miles Bentley with Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. All while keeping it a secret from our recipient.
And just when it looks like it may not come together.
Phone rings, "This is Lena."
"We got it!"
Josh was excited to give back to the man who not only gives to his students but in any way he can.
Don Johnson and his wife of 34 years volunteer in numerous places within the community, including Sacred Heart Hospital.
When Josh, Miles Bentley and I found Mr. Johnson. He was doing what he does best teaching.
"They asked me who can you think of that's been the most influential, the person who's always been there and helped you the most and I thought of you.
"You helped me become the person I am and it meant a lot to me."
Then came Josh's gift.
"On behalf of Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, I want to give this money to Josh so that he can Pay it Forward to you."
I asked Mr. Johnson what it meant to him to have such a profound impact on the lives of his students."
"People are special to you."
"That's why you get involved in this."
And when I asked about his plans for the money? He knew right away he wanted to continue to Pay it Forward to his students.
"I'm gonna donate it to this group of people right here."
"I appreciate the thoughtfulness but I would be less than what I've taught them to be if I did anything else."
Mr. Johnson told us something I'll never forget.
He said, it takes much more than parents and teachers to create a person.
He said it takes the whole community to build character in the young people in our community.
Learn more about what Mr. Johnson says makes his former student, Josh Merced a person of true character by logging on to facebook.com/weartv for a web exclusive.
And of course, let us know your Pay it Forward story.
We'd love to share it with our viewers on 3ITM.
A special thank you to our partner Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep for making 'Pay it Forward possible.