It’s not every day that you manage to emotionally affect people while grocery shopping.
These outings are mainly people walking like drones around the supermarket, surveying food, pondering on expiration dates and diving into ‘super sale’ basket to find the best deals. There’s very little interaction with any fellow shoppers unless you accidentally knock into their trolley or run over their feet.
As you get to the check-out area shoppers queue up quietly, mostly waiting patiently for the the assistant to work their way through the conveyor belt – it’s a first world problem.
The other day while I was picking up a few items at the local ShopRite I had a wonderful experience. I know it sounds bizarre, as ShopRite is just a supermarket, but it was truly a magical moment.
I joined the shortest line and waited for my turn. I’m a law-abiding shopper and waited patiently while the customer in front was packing up.
Suddenly the guy, who had picked out a few items (no more than 7-10 items) for the Memorial Day weekend, was looking frantically at the check-out assistant. The look in his eyes were off and I could tell he was short on funds. I offered to covered the difference, assuming it was $1-2, but he kindly declined and removed items instead.
Next I saw him leave the check-out with-out his groceries, and I asked the assistant if he was ok. He was not ok.
According to the shop assistant he had been in an accident months ago and was only now finding his feet. He needed a few items to carry him through Memorial Day weekend, but didn’t have enough on his foot-stamp card.
I asked how much and was amazed when it was only $13.55.
Without hesitating, I told her I would pay for his groceries if someone could get him back to pick them up. It was an older assistant and she was getting emotional for my kind gesture and asked if I knew the man, to which I answered no.
“Everybody hits a low in their life, and it’s important that we help each other to move forward“. At that point a small tear was forming in her eyes and the customer in front of me was also getting emotional.
Honestly, it felt normal to me to help a fellow man.
The man came back with a rather puzzled expression on his face and was humbled by my gesture. At first he refused to take groceries, but I told him they had been paid and he couldn’t return them – it was my gift to him I said.
He left the shop with a new sense of hope. That was evident from his posture and spring in he walk. He was happy and relieved.
As I gather my groceries and started to walk out, the cashier smiled and thanked me. She had not witnessed such a gesture in a long time and it made her month.
I walked outside and was greeted by the same man who had just received my grocery gift.
He wanted to shake the hand of the man who had given him the best Memorial Day weekend in over a year. It was men like me that made the World special, and who made him proud to be an American. He was ever so grateful for my gesture. I told him to enjoy the weekend, and he hugged me.
The man had been in a bad accident 11 months ago and only just gotten a new job two weeks ago. He had not received his first pay check yet and was still on food stamp card, which was running very low. Hospital bills had taken everything he had.
To say the least, he was extremely emotional about my help, and was close to tears.
As I sat into my car, I was suddenly filled with emotions. It was a strange and wonderful experience, and I realized what I had just done.
WOW! It was such an amazing feeling. Helping a stranger or someone you know, with small gestures, will go such a long way. The feelings you will experience afterwards are so rewarding, and I can only encourage you to pay it forward.
Little act of kindness goes a long way and touches people that needs help. It’s only money and doesn’t have to be millions to make people happy.