Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Bell Employee Spreads Joy & Kindness Through $100 Gift Cards

Bell Bank employees have come up with some pretty creative – and inspirational – ways to spend their Pay It Forward dollars every year.
“The best joy in life is in the giving. My grandkids cried, I cried, and our hearts were filled.” – Joyce Hercules, Bell Bank mortgage loan officer

Bell Employee

Joyce Hercules, mortgage loan officer
Chaska, Minn.


Random strangers

The Need

When Joyce Hercules received $2,000 from Bell to Pay It Forward in 2020, she used it to hand out $100 gift cards to strangers.

“The project was just to go out into the community and be aware of who was near me, figure out if they were a family in need, and try to make their life a little bit better,” Joyce explains.

Joyce and her husband were having so much fun paying the gift cards forward that they decided to include their grandkids in the experience.

“When we gave people the cards, just to see their faces light up with happiness, they were so thankful for it, it was just amazing,” remarks Ava, Joyce’s granddaughter.

“It just was refreshing and delightful to see their expressions change, like this big weight had been taken off their shoulders,” adds Michael Hercules, Joyce’s husband. “It made me proud to get to see how you should treat people. We’ve just got to teach that to everybody, so that we can make this place a better place to be.”

The Impact

During an Aldi stop, Joyce approached a mom and dad with 3 young children and asked them to take the gift card and do something special for their kids for Christmas. The mom started crying and wanted to take a picture with Joyce.

“I made a difference in their life,” Joyce says. “I turned to my husband, and I said, ‘This is going to be fun.’”

In Target, she gave a gift card to a mother with a baby. When the mother saw the amount of the card, she started sobbing.

“She said, ‘This is more than enough. I don’t need this much,’” Joyce recalls. “I said, ‘You buy what you need, and then you buy something special for your baby.’”

After receiving a gift card, one man said they weren’t a family in need and tried giving the card back, so Joyce told him to pay it forward with his own kids.

“The best joy in life is in the giving,” Joyce notes. “My grandkids cried, I cried, and our hearts were filled.”

Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.