Any parent who has wrangled rambunctious, noisy and yes even wild kiddos (can we say too much sugar?) in a checkout lane at a busy store knows all too well the embarrassment and even absolute mortification that washes over them when people start to stare.
No matter how awesome of a parent you are, kids can have a baby meltdown, a toddler temper tantrum or even a tween hissy fit when something doesn’t go their way at the store.
Maybe the tyke wants a sucker and you inadvertently picked the candy-filled checkout lane. Or the tween wants another eos lip balm egg but you literally just bought her one. Baby needs a nap and at this point, you could seriously use one, too.
One foster mom popped into cashier Nick Tate’s checkout lane at the Walmart in Newcastle, Oklahoma, juggling two little girls and a baby. The toddlers were proving to be a handful at that moment and a quick checkout wasn’t in her plans it seemed.
Nick, 20, is considered to be one of the most sweetest, friendliest cashiers at the store. He always asks his customers how their day is going and freely carries on a conversation with ease.
He recognized at this moment that the mom was struggling and frantic, fearful that she was holding up the line. The store was already swamped on a Friday night with impatient customers and she felt terrible, frazzled almost, at this point.
The Bible college student tried to make her feel better by simply asking her:
“One of those days?”
With a look of relief, the mom glanced at Nick and gave him a woeful smile, admitting that it definitely had been a rough day. She felt as if everyone around her was judging her for the rowdy brood she had with her while checking out and how long it was taking her to finish.
She apologized to Nick even though she had done nothing wrong. Then when she pulled out a WIC card to pay for her purchases, she began to apologize again.
“I’ve never used WIC before. I don’t know how it’s going to go.”
He reassured her that would be just fine. But the line forming behind her grew and grew. She explained to Nick that she was a foster parent and had just signed up for the federal program that helps low-income families, WIC. She needed to use the WIC card to pay for the baby formula.
She was embarrassed as Nick ran her card several times but it just wouldn’t work. With tears welling in her eyes, the stressed out mom was at a loss what to do.
“She had a good amount of items and most of them went through, but she apparently didn’t have the right formula and it wouldn’t go through. We had to run a separate transaction for the rest.”
It didn’t help that another customer actually had the audacity to ask her what was taking her so long.
“[There were] more customers, more grumbling and dirty looks as they moved to the other lane and I’m frustrated and trying not to cry. At this point, a lady we know came up and asked why I was causing so many problems. I told her I was just failing as a foster mom because I can’t figure out WIC and almost burst into tears right there.”
Always a gentleman, Nick knew exactly what to do. While he followed store protocol and summoned a manager for assistance, he felt compelled to intervene on his own.
He told her he was paying for her purchase.
“I felt like God was calling for me to pay her bill. It was without a doubt – God was saying ‘Pay for this.'”
The look of disbelief that spread across the customer’s face was beautiful. Nick knew he had done the right thing while she was stunned.
“What are you doing?”
So Nick whipped out his own credit card to buy her $60 worth of groceries. The foster mom burst into tears, thanked him and left the store abruptly.
“I don’t remember everything he said to me after that but I do know he told me that I wasn’t failing and that what we were doing was an amazing thing.”
Nick, who plans to become a missionary in Honduras, said he listens when God speaks.
“When God tells me to do something, I do it.”
After the mom composed herself, she took to Facebook to share her experience with her friends and family. She hoped someone would know Nick and could tell him how grateful she truly was.
An individual who knows both the mom and Nick showed him the Facebook post and asked if the cashier referenced in the post was him. He was surprised!
“I was just trying to bless someone and make their day and it turned into something incredible.”
Nick reached out to the mom and they connected. She was able to graciously thank him for his generosity and kindness he bestowed upon her when she was struggling and experiencing a moment of frustration.
“I have been able to get into contact with this young man… and thank him again as well as his mom and tell her how incredibly blessed we were by her son and thank her for raising such an exceptional young man. Additionally, multiple managers from Wal-Mart have contacted me regarding this issue to figure out who it was, wanting to help make it right and help however they can. As well as someone from WIC.”
A modest and humble person, Nick shrugged off all of the attention he’s received. It’s just not who he is. He said it was “pretty cool” being able to chat with her though.
“It’s not what I did. It’s what God did through something so small. He took something so small and He glorified his name with it.”
When others learned of Nick’s dream to become a missionary and travel to Honduras, complete strangers extended donations to help that wish come true.
“Someone donated $10,000 for me to go down there. Right now, I’m a youth and children’s pastor at a church, and I’m loving it. It is so much fun. Then, I play soccer every other night with locals just to dive into the community.”
Now that step one of his big dreams has come true, he shared that he hopes to start his own soccer ministry there. And he owes it all to God.
“God was saying, okay, it’s time. Here’s the doors wide open for you. It was so cool just to see Him work through all of it.”
Watch Nick’s heartwarming story unfold in the video below. It shows there’s still so much good in the world!
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