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Stranger pays for man's gas bill — with one simple request

One man's generous act at a gas station has inspired a string of kindness.

Tyson Crawley of New South Wales, Australia, had just filled his car up with gas and grabbed a couple coffees last Friday when he went to the register and realized he couldn't pay for his purchase. He'd recently opened a new bank account and had forgotten the pin number, and had no cash on hand.

"My dog was barking wildly, I had to get to work, and I was starting to freak," Crawley wrote in a popular Facebook post about the incident.

Tyson Crawley/Facebook
Tyson Crawley was surprised when a stranger — later identified as John Kennedy Jr. — paid his gas bill.

That's when another man at the store stepped in and offered to pay, picking up Crawley's AU$110 tab (about $84). Crawley, 30, was stunned. When he asked the man to write down his contact information so he could pay him back, the man simply wrote his name and the words "pass it on."

"I was just incredibly overwhelmed," Crawley told TODAY. "I couldn't believe how beautiful and kind people could be."

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He asked to take a selfie with the man, who has since been identified as John Kennedy Jr., a Michigan-born ice hockey player who plays for the Newcastle North Stars, a team in New South Wales. The photo has since gone viral.

In a Facebook post, the team wrote that it's "not surprised" to hear about what Kennedy did, as "we know his quality of character."

Tyson Crawley/Facebook
Kennedy left this note on the receipt.

"We hope to continue on following your example," the team wrote.

Crawley hopes to meet Kennedy again: "It will be good to catch up and get a beer one day," he said.

He's also been fulfilling his part of the bargain, and paying the kindness forward.

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"I decided I was going to start my journey in the same sense, so I went back to the same service station and I just walked in and asked to pay for a man's fuel," Crawley said. "On the back of the receipt, I wrote, 'Tyson — pass it on,' the same way John did."

He hopes the story helps encourage other people to be kind and "to look out for each other no matter who we are in the world."

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