Sarah is a paramedic in a medium size city in the Midwest. She has two small children and prides herself on being a hard worker and a good parent. She’s very well thought of by her colleagues and has lots of friends and family in the area. Unfortunately, she’s recently encountered some bad luck and rough times.
After six months of stress on their marriage, in part due to his recent work layoff, Sarah’s husband of ten years suddenly walked into the house and announced he was leaving his wife, their children and the town altogether. Despite mutual efforts at reconciliation the marriage ended in divorce several months ago with Sarah being awarded custody of the two children.
While Sarah was able to make it through the turmoil of the divorce period and she’s cautiously optimistic about the future, the cost of the divorce and some previous bad decisions have left her in a financial predicament. She and her husband have had an IRS tax lien for several years and her moderate salary and small child support payments leave little money left over at the end of the month.
Although she’s recently turned to relatives for financial help, her sense of pride and independence makes it difficult for her to ask for more.
Sarah’s divorce attorney Jim, is a member of Simple Reciprocity. He has banded together with other local professionals through Simple Reciprocity to help people like Sarah who are experiencing financial difficulties. He was able to provide a relatively low cost divorce for Sarah but understands through his work with her that she still needs assistance to get back on her feet. Particularly, with her taxes and the IRS situation.
Through a message from the Simple Reciprocity system, Jim contacts another member who is part of his local Simple Reciprocity Group and is a CPA. He’s chatted with the CPA at several school events but they’ve never socialized or done any business together. Jim explains Sarah’s situation to Sharon the CPA and Sharon agrees to meet with Sarah and help her if she can.
During Sharon’s meeting with Sarah she discovers that Sarah is very discouraged about her finances and doesn’t know what to do. While fighting back tears, Sarah describes the large amount of back taxes owed the federal government and the mounting interest and penalties and her inability to make payments. It’s to the point where she can’t even afford to fix the brakes on her car. In the divorce settlement, she came away with the older vehicle and the brakes desperately need repair and are a safety risk to she and her children.
Sharon tells Sarah she thinks she can help her but needs to review everything before making her recommendation. After Sarah leaves her office, Sharon spends a few minutes looking at the documentation. It doesn’t take her long to confirm what she suspected; that Sarah and her ex-husband are perfect candidates for an Offer-In-Compromise with the IRS.
She also signs on to the Simple Reciprocity system that her friend Jose invited her to join last year, to message him about Sarah.
Jose is a local real estate agent Sharon has known for a couple years and she trusts him completely. She messages Jose and lets him know that she’s working with a new client through Simple Reciprocity who needs some help in evaluating the sales potential of her home, and what price it might be able to sell for in the current market.
Sharon could tell in speaking with Sarah that the home held some emotional baggage from the marriage and she might be willing to sell it.
More importantly, it was obvious that the mortgage was too expensive given her current situation. It might be best to consider selling the home and finding a more affordable option. She also let’s Jose know Sarah may need to find a less expensive living arrangement going forward.
Sharon also looks for another professional in her local Group on the Simple Reciprocity system. She noticed several weeks ago that a salesperson at one of the local car dealerships had joined. She doesn’t know him but messages him and asks him to give her a call about a client who needs some immediate help.
Steve is one of the top salesmen in his region and has gotten there because he’s always gone out of his way to help everyone he can. It hasn’t always yielded immediate results but over the long-term his willingness to make the extra effort to help others has multiplied back to him many times over in new business.
When he calls Sharon and hears about Sarah’s situation, Steve knows he can help her right away and tells Sharon to give Sarah his name and phone number. He speaks with his manager about the dealership donating the labor costs for the brake job and gets the OK. He lets the parts department know that its likely Sarah will be coming in and that he will be picking up the cost of the parts for her. Steve and his manager decide to keep track of these giving situations and use them to help the dealership staff feel good about how their helping others, and as a possible advertising vehicle about giving back to the community.
After several weeks of hectic activity, Sarah can’t help but smile. She feels like a new person with a new start and her coworkers have noticed the difference immediately. She has her old energy back and is motivated again to be a lifesaver as a Paramedic.
Four local business people, through their affiliation with a networking system for givers and helpers called Simple Reciprocity, have made a huge difference in someone’s life. Also, an important person is back to being an asset to the community and has hope for the future because these people were willing to donate their time and resources to help her.
The long-term outlook for Jim, Sharon, Jose and Steve is good, too.
Sarah is still waiting to hear about her settlement offer to the IRS but the offer has taken the payment pressure away and allowed her to get back on track with her normal taxes. She is now using Sharon for her yearly taxes and recommends her to all her friends, family and coworkers. She also personally went in to the County office to recommend Sharon for the Counties’ accounting business.
Sarah had Jim create a will that provides for her children and has employed Jim on several occasions to collect late child support payments from her ex-husband. In thinking about the will, she realized she needed more life insurance than her employer provided and asked Jim if he knew someone who could get it for her. She also needed help managing her half of the retirement plan assets she received in the divorce. Jim sent an email to his brother-in-law who’s a local financial advisor and recommended he contact Sarah. He also suggested he join Simple Reciprocity right away as they needed a local financial advisor on the system. Sarah recommends Jim to all her friends, family and co-workers.
Jose spent several months helping Sarah evaluate the prospects for selling her house, preparing it for sale, and looking for something new that was less expensive but still provided for her needs. Jose discounted his commission for selling Sarah’s house significantly to help her, but was able to split the commission on her new house purchase. Sarah is delighted with her new house and location and so are the kids. She can’t recommend Jose highly enough to her friends, family and co-workers.
Steve made an emergency appointment for Sarah with his service department to fix her brakes two days after hearing from Sharon. Within three hours of bringing her car in, Sarah was driving away with brakes that didn’t shake and were safe for she and her children. There was no charge.
She was so grateful she hugged Steve, his manager and every service department person she could find. She told Steve she needed a new car, couldn’t afford one yet, but to keep his eye out for her. Six months later, Sarah took Steve’s call about a car that was coming off a three-year lease and went to see it. She drove it away a week later. When talking with her friends, family and coworkers Sarah constantly sings the praises of Steve and the dealership and two other people she sent have purchased new trucks from Steve.
In general, Sarah is so grateful to those who went out of their way to help her that she’s eager to reciprocate and “return the favor” in any way she can.
Simple Reciprocity helps its members create a sphere of goodwill wherever they do business. By enriching and enhancing other people’s lives, members create happiness and success for others and prosperity for themselves.