The Contest That Didn’t Exist

In a small mountain town, one family was finding it harder and harder each month to make ends meet. One day, they came up short at the register so the youngest, a little girl about eight years old, was sent to put a couple of items back on the shelves. While she did so, her mother apologized to the person behind her in line, but the gentleman just smiled and replied that he was in no rush.

About a week later, the family was notified that their receipt had come up as the winning number in an ongoing drawing for a $200 shopping trip. Shocked, they turned up at the store the next morning, still disbelieving their good luck, but ready to stock up on some much needed groceries.

When they reached the register and told the cashier that they were there to use their winning receipt, a look of confusion came over her face. She said she was unaware of any ongoing drawing, but stepped away to check with the store manager.

The manager returned along with the clerk a few minutes later and cheerfully swiped a gift card through the register till. The mother breathed a sigh of relief, had the children pack up their groceries, and repeatedly thanked the manager as she left.

It was only after the family left that the manager told the cashier the truth: the man who had watched the family struggle to pay for groceries a week earlier purchased the gift card out of his own pocket. He had asked the manager to present the situation as a store drawing, with the understanding that their full bags of groceries would be thanks enough.

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