This story was last updated in November 2020.
In this time of a global pandemic, along with social and political turmoil, it can seem as though the world has lost its way.
But amidst all the chaos, one Indiana teen’s random act of kindness has provided reassurance to many that there is still good out there.
When an elderly woman attempted to pay for her groceries in a checkout lane of Jewel-Osco in Crown Point last month, she came up short by $20.
A bagger who worked there, teenage boy Izayah Edwards, noticed that the woman was struggling to pay for her groceries, and without thinking twice, he pulled out his own wallet to cover the difference.
Edwards might’ve thought nothing more of his moment of kindness, but a customer snapped a photo of him helping the woman cover the cost of her $150 grocery bill.
Suzanne Dee posted the picture on Facebook, where it soon went viral, attracting thousands of likes and nearly 3,000 shares.
“I took this picture while in line at the Crown Point Jewel-Osco a half an hour ago,” she captioned. “I had been thinking crabby thoughts about humanity just before I spotted this young man, who was bagging groceries, pull out his wallet to pay the remainder of a customer’s bill when she said she didn’t have enough.”
She adds: “See? There are still heroes.”
Not only did the post warm hearts across the internet, but the elderly woman’s granddaughter saw it, too, and thanked the bagger online for his help.
“This lady is my grandma,” she wrote. “This is such a blessing! She is struggling so much medically and is on a strict budget. I am so sure that she appreciates it more than this young man knows. God will bless him!”
Before long, state Rep. Lisa Beck heard about the teen’s generosity. According to NWI Times, she called Edwards an “inspiration.”
But her recognition didn’t stop there. She decided to honor the young man with the Good Citizen Award during a ceremony with the mayor of Crown Point.
On Oct. 6, the award ceremony took place at the Lake County Courthouse square, where Beck and Mayor Dave Uran presented the award to Edwards.
In a public statement, Jewel-Osco President Mike Withers said, “Izayah Edwards’ compassion in this situation wasn’t anything he expected to get recognition for, and we commend his actions.”
He added that Edwards’s actions support the store’s commitment to treating customers with “kindness and respect.”
Beck said the Good Citizen Award is designed to honor acts of kindness that contribute to community welfare, while also encouraging further acts of “kindness and humility.”
“Izayah is truly one of the best among us, as he acted without expectation of recognition, which is why I am all the more honored to present him with this award,” she said.
“This young man is the embodiment of Hoosier hospitality, and I am thankful that his random act of kindness was able to bring light to our community.”
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