News Stories

Pay It Forward: The Story of Natasha Paterson

My afternoon was supposed to be spent doing a story on the beautiful sunsets in SWFL. However, the universe had a different plan for me that day. I attempted to go to Vanderbilt Beach and couldn’t find parking – as usual – and in a desperate attempt to catch the sun setting, I flew down to Wiggins pass. That beach isn’t usually my first choice, but I followed my path.

As I walked out to the beach looking for a spot to set up, I walked up to a memorial and a bench for “Natasha Paterson.” After reading her story, I thought long and hard about it. I grabbed my camera and decided to shift my earlier plans, and instead, do a story on this memorial.

As I hit recored on my camera, I got a tap on my shoulder – the individual ended up being Natasha’s father, Duncan. The odds of meeting Duncan, considering he and his wife only live in Florida part-time, were slim. Not to mention, they were headed home the next morning. He handed me a card with a message that reads, “Random Acts of Kindness In Loving Memory of Natasha Paterson.”

We stood up to introduce ourselves only to find out we have the same last name. I kept thinking, how crazy life is that I landed on that beach with her inspiring message which also connected me to Duncan. Things do happen for a reason. I hope that I can do justice to Natashas message and in the process show others a valuable lesson in paying it forward.