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Likes Dem Apples Very Much

| Right | December 23, 2015

(I work in a Midwest grocery store chain, known for helpful smiles. One of our regulars, a single mother of four, has come to my register with a large amount of groceries.)

Me: “Hello, how are you doing today?”

Regular: “Oh, we’re good. Celebrating [Youngest Son]’s birthday tomorrow.”

Me: “Oh, is that what this awesome birthday cake is for?”

(She nods, then chats idly with the young man in line behind her, who is a college student. After loading everything onto the belt, she looks at her oldest son and gives him her EBT card, as well as some cash while she runs to check on something. After she’s left the register, the man behind her speaks up.)

Male Customer: *to me* “Miss? I’d like to cover these folk’s groceries today.”

(I pause, as this has never happened before.)

Me: “I’m sorry; can you repeat that, sir?”

Customer: “I’d like to get this family’s groceries for them today. But on the down low. Anonymously, you know?”

(I nod, and he turns to the children.)

Customer: “Hey, don’t tell your mom, okay? I’m gonna cover your groceries for you today. Merry Christmas!”

(All four children are rather shocked, as am I, as the bill continues to grow larger. Once I ring everything up, I give him the total.)

Me: “All right. Well, sir, since you said you were going to cover it, it’s going to be $85 and change today.”

Customer: *nods, then adds his bag of apples before turning to the oldest child* “Here, I heard you say you wanted some apples, but your mom said you couldn’t get them today.”

(I add them to the total, and he slides his card only moments before the mother returns. This has all happened in less than two minutes.)

Me: “All right, here’s your receipt, ma’am, and have a Merry Christmas. And have a Happy Birthday, [Youngest Son].”

(My regular nods, smiles, glances between me and the male customer for a moment, then her children, then walks off. I start to ring up the male customer’s groceries, telling him how kind and generous I think he’s been when the mother comes back.)

Regular: “Wait, what just happened?”

Customer: *explains to the mother, whose eyes get wider as he speaks* “So, have a Merry Christmas, miss, and tell your son I said Happy Birthday.”

Regular: “Seriously? I mean, you really did that?”

(Customer nods.)

Regular: “Oh, my lord. Thank you. You don’t know what this means to my family. Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas to you, too!”

(She heads back to her children, on the verge of tears as she slowly walks out the door, shaking her head in amazement.)

Me: “Sir, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a kind thing in my life. Can I just say how amazing that was, and what a generous person you are?”

Customer: “Hey, it’s Christmas time. I’ve got the cash, and if I can help someone out, then I’ll do it. Those smiles lit up my day.” *pauses, then chuckles* “Of course, now I’ll have to get more apples. But that’s another day’s concern!”