Walmart. The brand is so powerful that, whether good or bad, the very name can evoke an extremely clear picture, or even an emotional response for almost every American. But no matter what your perception of the store I bet you did not associate Walmart with heroism.
And when 20-year-old Nicholas Tate came to the rescue of a mother of three on the verge of tears, he was not trying to change people’s minds, either. But his selfless act of compassion touched all our hearts and might even make you believe that heroes sometimes take the night shift at Walmart.
The mother of three was clearly having one of those days when she began piling on the groceries.
It began as Tate’s Friday night shift was nearing an end last week. A mother with two young girls and a baby began piling groceries onto the conveyor belt. The children were a little wild, and the mother looked haggard.
“Is it one of those days?” Tate remembered asking the woman according to CBS News.
Indeed it was one of those day, and it was about to get worse for the poor woman.
She was fostering the children, and she was struggling financially. To pay for the mountain of groceries that were piled onto the conveyor belt she needed to rely on WIC, a federal program that gives struggling families extra money to buy groceries.
There was only one problem: she had only just set up the account earlier that day, and was unfamiliar with how the system worked. In fact, it was fairly complicated; only certain grocery items were covered under the WIC program, and of those items only specific brands.
But the problems continued—her WIC card did not cover certain items.
As Tate began scanning the items, though, problems began to arise. Most of her items were covered under the program, but some were not. Unaware of the regulation, the woman asked Tate to scan them again. But the card refused to work every time for these items. The remaining bill came out to around $60, an amount she could not pay.
Embarrassed, worried, and dealing with two wild children and a baby, she did not know what to do. To make matters worse, the line of people behind her grew longer and longer and some were getting angry.
“At this point, a lady we know came up and asked why I was causing so many problems,” the woman wrote on Facebook according to CBS News. “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.”
People were getting angry, and the mother was distraught—but that was when help arrived.
“I already had my card out at that point,” Tate told CBS News. “The second it didn’t work I swiped my card.”
Tate paid the remaining balance; an amount that roughly represented a day’s pay for Tate. That was not all, Tate also gave the woman the emotional support she needed.
“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,” the woman wrote according to CBS News.
She left the store as quickly as she could, but she was so moved by his act of kindness that she wrote the entire story on her Facebook feed. She hoped to reconnect with her hero, and, with the help of Walmart managers and others on social media, she did.
The story went viral, and his Newcastle Walmart honored Tate for his actions. However, while he received accolades and gratitude, for Tate, the deed itself was its own reward.