Here in a nutshell is what happened. We found ourselves a 100 miles or so and a week into our cruise when the diesel engine quit. To continue on our way we had our 7.5 hp kicker and 3 gallons of gas which was not enough gas to make it to the nearest gas dock let alone on to the San Juans. After some cell phone calls to my son at home, (he was at a computer online) I decided to run about five miles to a nearby shutdown marina, anchor the boat and take the dinghy to shore and a road where I would call a taxi from a neighboring town 15 miles away (or hitch hike) to take me to somewhere to buy four five gallon fuel containers and bring them back to the dinghy full of gas. Sounds like a miserable way to finish a cruise but a workable plan never the less.
But it turned out great, while paddling my dinghy to shore I started talking with two fisherman in their dinghy, that were just finishing up crabbing for the day. They offered me a ride, they took me into town, waited while I bought four new gas jugs, took me to a gas station and brought me back to the dinghy. All this in less than an hour, heck we spend more time watching eagles than this little emergency excursion took. When I fished out a twenty and offered to pay for their time or at least the fuel cost they politely refused. My response to their generosity was to promise to help someone in need and keep it going.
So "paying it forward" is very much alive and well, and apparently I still have credits in my account.