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Winston-Salem, NC

My husband Mark and I have a favorite bagel place. There is a woman who works there who always greets us with a smile. She has worked there for years, so she knows us, as well as my mother, who is also a frequent customer. We’re often all there together on Sunday mornings.

Last fall Mark was in line at our local grocery store and saw “the bagel store woman” several people in front of him. When it came time for her to pay, her debit card was declined. Mark shared that she was clearly very embarrassed and asked if she could run out to her car to see how much cash she had there. While she was in the parking lot, Mark paid for her groceries and slipped out before she came back in.

Fast forward a few months to Christmas morning; Mark and I are at my parents’ house. My mom tells us there’s a surprise gift for Mark and hands him a wrapped package. He opens it, and it’s a pastel painting of a snowman under the stars.


We learn that the woman from the bagel store was told “the bald guy paid for your groceries” when she came back in, and she knew it was Mark as they had exchanged hellos while in line. She wanted to thank him, so she painted him a snowman and gave it to my mom to give to him on Christmas morning.

She has given us a warm smile over countless visits to the bagel store for years. Mark returned her generosity during her moment in need, and she gave yet again in such a thoughtful and unassuming way.

She and Mark are the kind of givers we all should be.