When Ken reached into his pocket to pay for groceries at his local Coles, he was overcome with the sinking feeling that his wallet had been stolen.
Visibly shaken, Ken didn’t know what to do, and then out of the blue, the stranger behind him in the line came forward and paid off all his groceries.
The woman, who remains anonymous, simply said, “That’s okay, Merry Christmas,” before giving over complete payment for everything in Ken’s shopping cart.
Part of the community for over 5 decades, Ken at 91 has maintained the same routine weekly grocery shop for years.
He has enjoyed the independence and process of making his way around his local Middle Park Coles in Brisbane’s south west, getting all he needs for the week.
However this particular day, after the Coles employee had bagged up all of Ken’s items, Ken became aware that his wallet was missing.
Speaking to 7life, Ken’s granddaughter Amanda details what happened, “It was about 2.20pm on Thursday afternoon and he gave me a call.”
“You could tell he was quite stressed and he said ‘where are you? I’m at Coles and I think someone has stolen my wallet’.”
Being close to the shops, Amanda immediately set off to help her grandfather.
When Amanda arrived, she saw that Ken was being supported by two people, Shelly, a Coles employee who the family knew well, and a woman she hadn’t seen before.
Amanda explains, “I could hear my grandfather talking to the women and then he spotted me and goes ‘oh my granddaughter is here’.”
It quickly became evident to Amanda that the warm-hearted stranger had paid off the total of Ken’s $115 grocery cart.
“I quickly thanked her and offered to pay her back. But she was so polite and refused. She told me ‘don’t worry about it, Merry Christmas’ and just left,” Amanda remembers.
“I turned to him and asked who was that and he had no idea.”
“She was wearing a mask so I didn’t recognise her either but I just can’t believe her generosity.”
“She just kept saying ‘don’t worry, Merry Christmas’.”
“It wasn’t a small grocery bill, and with everything that has happened with COVID a lot of people don’t have spare cash.”
It hadn’t taken Amanda much time to arrive at the Middle Park Coles but even in that time, her grandfather had become visibly shaken. Understandably processing the potential theft of a wallet, and wondering how to pay had been a lot for Ken.
Amanda describes seeing Ken still recovering, “He looked quite pale and even Shelly pointed out how unwell he appeared.”
“I think it was just the stress of the whole situation.”
“Luckily we found his wallet, he must have dropped it in his car on the floor of the driver’s side where the pedals are.”
Finding her 91-year-old grandfather supported by the strangers’ generosity, Amanda describes a wave of relief wash over her, and that she was also ‘in tears’ at how kind the act had been.
“He [Ken] is something really special,” Amanda says of her grandfather.
“Everyone is so quick to whinge about how bad people are, but this just shows there are people out there who do care,” she reminds.
As a granddaughter and mum, she wanted to share the beautiful encounter with her local community and posted about it on Facebook to broadcast the generosity and impact of the anonymous woman.
“I would love to find her to just say thanks,” she explains.
“My grandfather actually gave Shelly his number and told her ‘if she comes in, call me, I want to buy her a bunch of flowers.’ ”