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Guest column: Kindness of a stranger touches many

On Sept. 19, a miracle took place at the Publix on 49th Street N in St. Petersburg. I completed my shopping and was at the register, reaching in my purse for my credit card. It was not there. I turned my purse upside-down and emptied it on the counter. The card was not there.

There was a line of people behind me. They were very kind and considerate. The two Publix workers were great also; they didn't make me feel foolish or stupid. I was doing a good job doing that myself. When I finally realized that all the shaking of my upside-down purse and the silent prayers would not make my credit card appear, I quietly said to the employee at the register, "May I return my groceries to where I got them?"

A lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me."

I said, "Certainly," and moved aside. She asked the man at the register how much my groceries were because she was paying for them. I was amazed.

The Publix worker said, "$102.07." She handed him a hundred-dollar bill and three ones. I said, "No, I couldn't allow that. I can pay for my own groceries. Give me your name and address so I can send you a check."

She said, "There is no need for that. I can afford to do this."

I said, "Follow me home, and I can pay you cash or write a check." I figured I would also pay her for the gas she used and for her time. She just smiled, touched my shoulder and was gone.

This was a complete stranger whom I will never forget. I looked at the faces of the customers waiting in line and at the two employees, and I knew her gift was so much more than paying $102.07. It was a gift that touched all the people in line, the two employees and me.

Life is a series of moments and events. If we touch others and our moments are noble and we pass this on to others, we have placed incentives that have a domino effect. This action results in many changes and high expectations for ourselves. We validate expectations. Let them be of the highest order.

Thanks to the kind lady and her amazing action in Publix. We saw this, and we are better because of it.

I hope this lovely lady benefactor reads this and knows how much her action was appreciated and the impact it had on those fortunate enough to be part of this miracle on 49th Street.

Ethel Gillette lives St. Petersburg.

Guest column: Kindness of a stranger touches many 11/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:43pm]
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