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Pay It Forward: Douglas Kuehn, showing appreciation for service workers

The Austin man is showing appreciation for service workers one box at a time.

AUSTIN, Texas — They say acts of kindness come in all shapes and sizes. In the case of this week's Pay It Forward, it's a square box.

And if you're like Taylor Mauney, a mother and bartender, the coronavirus pandemic has you feeling boxed in.

"I love people and I love being around them, so it's been difficult being home and feeling almost isolated, especially being home 24/7, especially with my toddler," she said.

RELATED: Pay It Forward: Ilker Yilmaz, Cedar Park principal teaching kindness and humanity

As a bartender, Mauney hasn't been able to work. A Facebook post on the group called Lakeway Swap got her attention.

"This guy had posted about these boxes and how they were paying it forward and how other people are donating to him to be able to fill these boxes," she said.

Douglas Kuehn created Boxes of Love. It's an idea he had while working at his beverage distribution company in Cedar Park.

"I was sitting in my warehouse when all this came up and I was looking at some products that had a short shelf life, and I was like, 'How can I get these out to the community and get some smiles,'" he said.

RELATED: Home baker delivers bread to neighbors for donations only

Some boxes are filled snacks and treats and can be donated to baristas and servers, people like Mauney who work in the service industry.

Other boxes are meant for kids and are filled with toys and activities.

"I've had companies donate products. I've had kid centers also donate, and I fill them up and I drop them off at different locations that are still doing grab-and-go," Kuehn said.

So far, he's delivered more than 300 boxes.

"I grew up in El Salvador, and we've lived through a ton of hardships between earthquakes, Hurricane Mitch ... and I just learned to give back when something happened," Kuehn said. "This is a really cool way to essentially be able to share the love."

RELATED: East Austin food truck invites people to pay it forward with food

On behalf of KVUE and Charles Maund Toyota, KVUE's Yvonne Nava awarded Kuehn with a $1,000 check to thank him for all of the work he's doing.

"I'll put it all back into boxes," he said. "I'll buy more items with it to cover shipping costs, delivery costs. There's no profit in it. It's just to continue this movement."

"I think it's incredible. He deserves a hug," Mauney added.

If you'd like to send a box to someone who needs it or if there is someone you'd like to nominate who is paying it forward, send us an email.


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