I Saw Her in the Checkout Line—Then the Holy Spirit Made Me Do It

It was just a typical day. After dropping off the kiddos at school, I set out to run a few errands.

As usual, I saved Trader Joe’s for last.

It’s kind of my happy place. The beautiful fresh flowers, the friendly employees, the free samples, 20 different kinds of hummus and the assorted cheeses which I’ve never heard of but I’m quite certain I need to try before I leave this earth.

So, there I was with my basket loaded with items which made me feel like some kind of swanky health-nut but, in reality, would probably not be all that handy when it came time to make dinner that night.

I got in line behind a young woman with 2 little boys who were happily picking out their stickers from the giant sticker bin.

Suddenly I noticed that the woman seemed flustered and that the sales transaction had come to a screeching halt.

She began digging through her wallet and then through her pockets and all the while I could physically feel her embarrassment beginning to rise.

“I’m so sorry”, she said. “I don’t seem to have enough money to buy it all.”

After a quick glance at the line of people behind her, she began sorting through the items, selecting which ones she would need to put back.

And at that same exact moment, I felt this stirring in my heart.

I needed to do something.

HAD to do something.

As I stood there in full awareness of this ‘nudging’ towards action, I watched as the young woman grabbed the two little boys by their hands and led them out the door.

I pushed my cart forward and the cashier began ringing up my items. Glancing down, I noticed the little pile of  items she had chosen not to purchase. Or rather, the items she wasn’t able to purchase.

There was that stirring again. A nudging. It came from deep within my soul and I knew that this was one of those defining moments in life.

Pointing to the little pile of items, I asked the cashier to add them to my purchase. And then I asked if there was someone who could hurry out to the parking lot and take them to her.

I didn’t want her to know that they were from me.

The cashier signaled for someone to come over and explained that the bag needed to be taken out to the woman who had just left. Then as we both turned our attention back towards my purchases, our tear-filled eyes met.

She said, “thank you for doing that for her.”

I fumbled over my words for a moment before replying, “I just had to.”

Then I paid for my items and headed out the door towards my car. As I made my way through the parking lot, I glanced around quickly and was relieved that I couldn’t see ‘her’ anywhere.

Just as I was reaching my car I heard a voice yell, “hey!”

I turned to the left and there she was.

Are you the one who paid for those groceries?” she asked.

I felt pinned in and didn’t want to lie so I simply nodded my head and said, “yes“.

Thank you so much!” she said.

Oh, it was really no problem at all.“, I replied.

I smiled at her. She smiled back. We were having a moment.

And then she said,

I’m the nanny and I was trying to get everything on the list that their mom wanted but she didn’t give me enough cash to cover everything. I really do appreciate you helping though!

And before I could even think of how to reply, she walked over to a very large, very new, very luxurious SUV, hopped in and drove off.

Vanessa Hunt
Vanessa Hunt is the co-author of the book 'Life in Season: Celebrate the Moments That Fill Your Heart and Home', released in October of 2016. She and her sister founded the lifestyle website At the Picket Fence where they hope women of all ages and stages will feel folded into a community. Vanessa writes and creates from her home in Oregon which she shares with her husband and two children and while she doesn’t hug trees very often she does take her coffee very seriously. She is a regular guest on local television as well as a speaker at women's gatherings. She is also co-author of the lifestyle blog At the Picket Fence where you will find ideas for your home meeting inspiration for your heart. To see lots of pretty things, follow Vanessa on Pinterest.

Related Posts


Recent Stories