It’s easy to get caught up in our day to day routines, forgetting that the people who surround us have their own stories and struggles.
But by doing this, we could be missing out on opportunities to lend a helping hand to someone in need. It only takes a second to be a little more observant, and the results could make a huge impact.
A story shared by an Alabama woman is the perfect example of why this is important.
Angela O’Neal Jacks was shopping at her local Dollar Tree in Gardendale, Alabama, on July 31, 2018, when she noticed a man shopping for school supplies with three children.
A Dollar Tree store is seen on July 28, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Dollar Tree announced it will buy Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion in cash and stock. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
He was checking over a school supply list with the kids and was apologizing that they had to shop at a discount store to get some of the items, but the kids continued to be “cheerful and nothing but thankful.”
Angela decided to give a little friendly advice by telling the man that he could purchase better quality pencil boxes for the same price at a different store.
The stranger was thankful for the information and shared that the children had just lost their mother three weeks prior. He was their uncle and had taken the kids in when no one else stepped up to take care of them.
The military man had no idea just how expensive back-to-school items were going to be; he just knew he needed to take care of his late sister’s kids.
“(He) said they had needed complete wardrobes, backpacks, supplies etc. He was overwhelmed and also upset about the Dollar Tree, but was doing the best he could,” she wrote.
Angela was about to take his list and give him more money-saving tips when an elderly couple approached them.
They said, “Sir, we have overheard your conversation. We were wondering if you would put all of this back and meet us at Wal-mart? We’d like to purchase all of their supplies, clothes, shoes and backpacks.”
“We’d like to thank you for your service to our country and to these kids,” they continued.
The man and three kids were extremely grateful. Angela said there were “tears everywhere.”
In the middle of thank you’s and tears, one of the children piped up and said, “Can we get an MP3 player, too?”
Angela’s heart melted and she quickly responded, “You sure can, sweetheart.”
She told Liftable (a brand of Western Journal) that as a mother of four, she knew how disheartening it can be to not own something most other kids at school do. “They had just lost their mother. I wanted to bring a little joy,” she said.
Angela also wrote a Facebook post detailing the precious interaction hoping that it inspires others to take a second to notice those around them and be ready to lend a helping hand.
Meeting this sacrificial man and learning more about his story served as a sweet reminder for her.
She told Liftable, “It reminds me that we never know what someone else is going through and that we should be ready to help those in need in whatever way we are able.”