Let’s face it, life has its fair share of worries and stress. Most of us can relate to struggling to find time to do everything that we need to get done. From working, studying, paying the bills, running errands, taking care of the household, caring for our children, etc., we are often left with very little free time. Sometimes, we can understandably get so lost in our own hectic schedules, lives, and dilemmas that we forget about those around us who are in need.
Many of us can probably recall wanting to donate to a charity, volunteer at a shelter, or do another good deed, but we are forced to push it off because of lack of time in our own busy lives. Of course, that is totally reasonable considering how stressful and swamped people’s day-to-day can be. However, every now and then, there is a story so inspirational, that it reminds us of just how far one simple act of kindness can go.
Nicholas Tate is a 20-year-old man from Newcastle, Oklahoma. To say he is a hard worker is an understatement. Not only does he work a full-time job at Walmart as a cashier, he also is a college student and a Christian missionary who dedicates a good portion of his time helping children in need.
Anyone who has ever worked the cash register in a large department store knows the many challenges that come along with the job. From spending hours standing on your feet, dealing with disgruntled customers, scanning and bagging hundreds of items, the long endless lines… by the end of the shift you are often left feeling mentally drained and exhausted.
However, Nick claims that despite the challenges, he loves his job. His favorite part? Being able to meet and talk to hundreds of people a day. Anyone who works with or knows the young cashier, knows that he brightens each customer’s day with his friendly smile, kind words, and incredible patience.
So when the 20-year-old was reaching the end of his shift one Friday night, and his line suddenly began to grow and grow, he maintained his calm, collected, and friendly self. And when one stressful foster mom approached his cash register, with hyper kids screaming around her, Nicholas just smiled and asked her, “Is it one of those days?”
Little did the customer know, that this complete stranger was going to turn her stressful and dark day around.
Helping a stranger
In a world where we are often flooded with upsetting news, it is important to remember the many good-hearted people out there who still exist. True, there are unfortunately those who prefer to hate than love others, but there are also many kind and considerate people who deserve to have their stories told. One of them, in particular, is a 20-year-old Walmart cashier from Newcastle, Oklahoma, who helped a complete stranger in a moment of incredible kindness.
It was getting late one Friday night, and the young cashier was reaching the end of a long shift at the Newcastle Walmart. Suddenly, just when Nick was getting ready to go home, the line at his cash register began to grow. While most young cashiers would be eager just to hurry up and get home so they could enjoy the rest of their Friday night, Nick was patient, and rung in each customer’s items while keeping a smile on his face.
Customer in need
Just then, a woman approached his register and started placing multiple groceries on the conveyor belt. The woman, who had three young children jumping around her, was clearly flustered as she attempted to take out each item from the cart, while trying to keep the hyper children occupied and relatively content. After finally reaching the register, she immediately felt bad for nick for having to deal with her many items and noisy kids, and began apologizing to him.
Calm and collected
Although many people in Nick’s situation would have gotten stressed and anxious, especially since he had already worked eight hours and was supposed to be ending his long and tiresome shift, he remained his calm and collected self. He patiently scanned and bagged each item, and reassured her that it was no problem whatsoever. He then offered her one of his famous genuine smiles and asked, “Is it one of those days?”
The woman told him that she was currently fostering a young baby, which explained the diapers, formula, and other baby needs that took up the majority of her shopping cart. She said she was using funds from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a federal program that helps families in need with financial assistance, to pay for a few of her groceries. She told him nervously that her account with WIC was recently set up, and that it was her first time using it.
According to WIC, there are currently around 7.7 million people in the United States who receive monthly benefits from its program. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Program adds that the WIC program only covers specific items and brands according to the state of residence. The foster mom at Nick’s register insisted that the specific baby formula she wanted to purchase was on the approved items list, but for some reason her WIC card did not go through.
As Nick rang up each item, there were several that didn’t go through with WIC. As he kept trying to re-ring each item, the line grew even longer behind the woman. Nick maintained a calming smile on his face as he took care of the situation. He explained, “She had a good amount of items and most of them went through, but she apparently didn’t have the right formula and it wouldn’t go through.” He continued, “We had to run a separate transaction for the rest.”
As the line began to grow, the customers behind the woman started to shout out rude remarks and get impatient. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, recalled that night, “There were more customers, more grumbling and dirty looks as they moved to the other lane, and I’m frustrated and trying not to cry.” The woman’s children were also starting to lose patience. It was then that she thought she was going to lose it.
Just then, an acquaintance of the woman who saw what was going on approached her. “At this point, a lady we know came up and asked why I was causing so many problems. 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.” The woman felt her cheeks turn red and her eyes swell with tears, she was about to leave all of her items right there on the conveyor belt.
Nick maintained his calm composure and reassured the woman that it was going to be okay. He ignored the angry customers behind her and called over a manager. The manager came and tried the transaction once more. Unfortunately, it still didn’t go through. At this point, both the woman and Nick were feeling hopeless, not sure what to do next. For some reason, many of her items, all for her new foster baby, would still not go through.
Swiping his card
Faced with the dire situation, Nick knew what he had to do. Without a moment of hesitation, the 20-year-old cashier pulled his own personal credit card out of his wallet. He explained that it was God who was encouraging him to help the foster mother in need. “I already had my card out at that point. I felt like God was telling me to pay for it.” He continued, “The second it didn’t work I swiped my card.”
A day’s wages
The woman was shocked and couldn’t believe what this stranger was doing for her. It was at that moment that she couldn’t hold back her tears any longer, and she started crying. She asked him, “What are you doing?” And before she knew it, he had already paid for the remaining $60 of her groceries, which was more than he had earned for the entire shift that day. He said that it was worth every penny.
The customer tried to remember exactly what the young man said to her that emotional night. It all happened so quickly, and she was in such a state of shock and emotion, that it still feels like a blur to her. However, she does recall him praising her for being a foster parent. She said, “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 right thing
According to Nick, he wasn’t trying to be a hero at all, he was just trying to do the right thing. He explained how he felt it was his duty to help that customer that night, “When we feel like God is telling us to do something – how many times do we say no?” He continued, “In that moment, without a doubt, he was telling me to pay, telling me these people are in need, to help them.”
Sharing her story
The grateful customer was in such an emotional state that she forgot to check the kind Walmart employee’s name tag. She later felt awful for not being able to thank him personally, so she decided to take to Facebook in order to share the touching story with others, hoping to find the mystery cashier. In just a few days, thousands of strangers shared her incredible story, in hopes of being able to locate the Walmart hero.
Determined to help
Eventually, the Newcastle Walmart store caught on to the story and contacted the foster mother right away. They were determined to help her figure out who exactly had helped her that evening. “Multiple managers from Walmart have contacted me regarding this issue to figure out who it was, wanting to help make it right, and help however they can,” she said. Even someone from WIC contacted her, in order to help assist her to make sure she is never in that situation again.
She explained how she was finally able to thank the kind hero who saved her that night, as well as the mother who did such a great job at raising him. She said, “I have been able to get into contact with this young man…and thank him again as well as his mom and tell her how incredibly blessed we were by her son and thank her for raising such an exceptional young man.”
Since then, the story of Nick’s beautiful act of kindness has gone viral, and has been told via multiple media outlets including CBS News and Fox News. The 20-year-old never thought that the story would reach so many people, but he is glad it did. He now hopes that it will inspire others out there to reach out and help strangers when they are in need. He said, “It made my heart really happy. It confirmed that I’m doing what God wants me to do.”
Nick has always been a devoted Christian, and is currently a student at Austin Bible Institute, an online institution of Christian higher education. He believes that it is God’s will for him to help others and give back however he can. Nick had been working as a missionary helping kids on an island in Honduras in recent years, and had started working at Walmart two years ago to help save money for his missionary work.
Nick’s goal is to one day make a more permanent move to Honduras to enrich local children’s lives with Christian service and love, and to start a school that teaches children how to play soccer. When the foster mom heard of this, she said that she wants nothing more than to help return the favor that he did for her, and wishes to support the 20-year-old’s mission work and future school in any way that she can.
In an interview, the foster mom explained that she was extremely surprised by the selfless action of the young Walmart cashier. She is now urging others to learn from this exceptional man, and to spread kindness around to others. She said, “You never know what is going on with the people around you. It is more courageous to be kind during frustrating and hard circumstances than it is to react with grumbling, complaining, and anger.”
The woman explained that she learned a valuable lesson that evening, one that she will never forget even on her darkest and most challenging days. She is now trying to persuade others to, “Choose to be kind and watch it spread like wildfire.” She said, “It will affect more people than you could ever imagine and come back to you tenfold. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Even on hard days.”
Nick said that he will never regret the decision he made that evening at Walmart. Although the amount he gave her was more than his daily wage, he claims that it was God’s will to have him help the foster parent. He explained, “You never know what God is going to do. Yeah, it might be hard. It might be scary. It might be a day’s wage. But, if God is calling you to do it, He’s going to have something major for you.”
The Walmart in Newcastle where Nick works proudly took to their Facebook page in order to honor their employee’s good deed. They wrote, “Very proud of one of our associates tonight for going above and beyond to help a customer. Store manager Barry cultivates a work environment to be proud of and cashier Nick motivates us all to be better!” He then put the hashtag: SamWouldBeProud. We are sure Mr. Walton certainly would be proud!
Happy to help
Nick was given the special edition smiley happy to help pin and was named the store’s Happy to Help Recipient of the Month. He said that he loves helping people, which is why he enjoys working at Walmart so much, where he gets to meet and help new people every day. He said, “I’m a big people person so I just love getting to talk to people and hear about their day and just see how they are doing.”
Sharing a message
The young man’s story was also shown on Channel 4, Oklahoma’s local news station. Instead of talking about his good deed, Nick decided to take the opportunity to tell cameras how important and special foster parents are. He said, “For these kids, it is so incredible that they get to have these people in their lives.” He continued, “We don’t know what they’ve been through. But because of this family, they are changing these kids lives.”
Nick’s boss at Walmart spoke out about his employee with only good things to say about him. He claims that the cashier is constantly enriching lives around him, and was not surprised when he found out what he did for the foster mom. He said, “Nick is special, he has been with us for right around two years and he is the real deal. What you see with Nick is what you get. He is an incredibly fine young man.”
Loved by customers
Even Walmart’s customers, who are very familiar with the cheerful and exceptional cashier, have only warm words to say about him. Donna Paterson, a regular customer at the Newcastle Walmart, praised Nick for his selfless act and said she is sure it will come back to him one day. She said, “Anytime you do good like that for someone, and that family probably really really needed it, it will come back five times in your life. That’s what I’ve learned.”
Pay it forward
Only days after helping the foster mom in need, he was awarded the Pay It 4Ward award by KFOR-TV News Channel 4 and First Fidelity Bank. James Bog from First Fidelity Bank went to Walmart with Channel 4 in order to surprise Nick during one of his shifts with the grand prize, $400 in cash. It turns out that he was nominated for the award by the foster mom herself, who wanted to give back to the man who selflessly helped her.
Nick was incredibly thankful for the kind gift. As he accepted the prize, all of his coworkers and customers stood up and cheered. He said, “I’m just so thankful. It has been really cool to see God work and move in all this.” He’s become the perfect example of how much of an impact you can make after doing one good and selfless act. He hopes that it will persuade others to follow his lead, and promises that if you do, God will find a way to reward you back.