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Marine receives unique gift with 'pay it forward' request

It was like a scene out of the movie “Pay It Forward,” but it took place nine years later in Fallbrook and involved a Marine Corps couple, a retired banker and a real estate professional.

When retired banker Harry Keifer and his wife put their Fallbrook home up for sale with local Realtor Chris Murphy in June of 2009, the house sold so quickly and for such a favorable price, the couple wanted to show their appreciation in some way.

“[Harry] knew that selling his home and competing against banks in the foreclosure market would be difficult at best,” said Murphy, who was pleased at the outcome he achieved for the Keifers.

In packing up to move, Harry Keifer discovered boxes of brand new wood working equipment that he had collected over the years but never got around to using.

“[Harry] knew he could have sold it all in the newspaper or on Craigslist, but he wanted to do something special with it,” explained Murphy. “He wanted to find someone who needed the equipment and would appreciate it.”

Keifer asked Murphy to help him find a suitable person that would put the equipment to good use. Murphy agreed and stored the equipment in his own garage until an opportunity presented itself.

“From time to time I thought about the equipment but couldn’t think of anyone who would truly enjoy or appreciate the gift of a wood shop,” said Murphy.

When Fallbrook Hospital RN Lori Isle walked into Jacques Company Real Estate Brokers office several months later, met Murphy and explained how she and new husband, Sgt. Nick Isle, were looking to purchase a home here, little did she know the experience would culminate with a special gift for her husband, who was due to return soon from deployment to Afghanistan.

“Nick and Lori got married just before he was deployed,” explained Murphy. “They hadn’t had time for a honeymoon and they didn’t have a place that was theirs for Nick to come home to from war.” As soon as the Marine got home, Murphy showed them a property he thought might be perfect for the couple.

“I knew of a cute home that the bank foreclosed on a few months earlier but as of yet had not been sold,” Murphy said.

Although the landscape surrounding the home Murphy showed them had suffered from the water being turned off during the hot summer months, Murphy said they “looked at everything that was wrong with the house as an opportunity to fix the place up to be theirs and their home alone.” He said even the fact that the house didn’t have a garage didn’t discourage them.

It was at that moment, Murphy said, that he realized it was Nick “who I was supposed to give the wood shop equipment to.”

Without telling them about Keifer and his grand plan, Murphy asked a few questions to be sure the military couple would appreciate the wood working equipment. The couple voiced their ideas about how they hoped to improve the home.

“Nick talked about building a deck off the back under an old pepper tree and building a garage for their cars,” said Murphy. “Lori had a few ideas of things she dreamed of Nick building for her too.”

With Christmas quickly approaching, Chris Murphy and his wife and fellow Realtor ™, Kim, were spurred into action.

“The day before Christmas Eve, Kim wrapped up the boxes of wood working equipment in gold paper and festive ribbon; she picked up a few things for Lori too,” explained Murphy.

The Murphys delivered the gifts right to the couple’s doorstep. “They were appreciative and excited,” said Chris Murphy, who only made one request of the couple when he presented the gifts.

“Now it’s up to them to do something nice for someone else, paying it forward with no expectations of anything in return.”

The dramatic film “Pay It Forward” (2000) revolves around the plan an 11-year old devised to change the world for the better. Best described as a charitable pyramid scheme, “paying it forward” means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back, hopefully mushrooming good deeds within society.

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