There are few more embarrassing experiences in public than the moment the grocery clerk rings up and bags all your items and you discover you left your wallet at home.
Wanting nothing more than to flee from the judging glares of the customers behind you in line, not to mention the cashier who now has to deal with the goods you won’t be taking home, you have to scramble to figure out what to do.
Sound familiar? Of course, it does, and it happens to the best of us, including an anonymous woman at the Princeton, Texas Walmart location. The only difference? Her cashier didn’t have an annoyed sigh and call for his manager. He did something amazing.
According to Laci Simms, who retold the incident in a now-viral Facebook post, the woman was “in obvious distress about her inability to pay.”
It’s not clear whether the woman didn’t have enough money, forgot her wallet at home, or something else. What we do know, however, is that the cashier, 19-year-old John Lopez Jr., took it upon himself to make things right.
“…When she had trouble paying her bill he stepped in and told her if she’d wait he would pay her total,” Simms said in her post. “Ya’ll, it was $110 dollars!”
Simms went on to describe how, though this might be the brightest example, this isn’t the only time Lopez has made the patrons of the Princeton Walmart smile: “If you have never had the pleasure of going through John’s checkout line at the Princeton Walmart, please seek him out on your next visit. He is always singing, upbeat, courteous, joyful and efficient.”
John’s incredible act of kindness spread all over the internet thanks to Simms, who said the young man “renewed [her] faith in humanity and the generation we are raising,” and wanted everyone to know what a blessing he is to the community.
“Tuesday night I was up until 11 looking at the comments on the post,” Lopez shared with CBSDFW. “I was like this can’t be real.”
“[The woman] started crying and I was like ‘okay I got you – I got you’,” Lopez said, explaining his side of the story. “I just felt in my heart that the Lord told me I had to help her.”
Lopez gave his parents the credit for raising him to have not only a strong work ethic but a kind heart: “My parents basically taught me if someone needs help you should be able to help them and if someone is down, bring them up.”
“I make it my goal to at least in one way make someone smile,” he said, and surely he met that goal when he saved the day for the woman in his line.
Amazingly, that’s not where Lopez’s story ends. To show their immense appreciation for his generous heart and sunny spirit, the Princeton community set up a GoFundme page to bless the young man.
“The bill was not a small one. No questions asked. He gave selflessly. It was made public,” reads the campaign description. “He touches a lot of lives on a daily basis. I’d like to give back to him for constantly giving himself to our community.”
As Lopez continues to work at Walmart with the goal of saving up for college, the whopping $35,000 the campaign has already raised is sure to be a welcome boost.
If Lopez was faithful and generous as a young teen with $110, just imagine what his future will look like!
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Former Green Beret Sentenced To A Night In Jail, But What The Judge Does Next Will Blow You Away
Judge Lou Olivera doesn’t have an easy job.
Sure, it’s great to be the one to hand down justice to an unrepentant criminal or someone who poses a serious danger to society. Still, judges have hearts like anyone else and there are just as many instances where a judge like Olivera is forced to sentence someone they truly wish they could help.
Olivera, district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County, North Carolina, showed the world his kind heart after he was forced to sentence former Green Beret Joe Serna for probation violation.
As a Gulf War veteran, Olivera is no stranger to the life-altering experience of combat. He’s seen plenty, placing him in a unique position to serve both his community and his fellow servicemen as a judge.
When Serna’s case came before him, Olivera was deeply moved.
Serna, a three-tour veteran of the war in Afghanistan and two-time Purple Heart recipient, is one of the innumerable veterans who find themselves suffering from PTSD and unable to cope back home.
For many veterans like Serna, alcohol or drugs seem to be waiting with open arms, offering false comfort and sending them on a downward spiral of self-destruction. The Veterans Treatment Court exists to serve veterans fighting this kind of battle, and it became Judge Olivera’s mission to make a difference in Serna’s life.
Serna was arrested for drunk driving a few years before this court date. One condition of his probation was that he was strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol. But when Serna lied about a recent urine test, Olivera couldn’t just let it slide.
“I gave Joe a night in jail because he had to be held accountable,” Olivera recounted to CBS.
Later on, when Serna entered his cell for the night, terrible memories came flooding back into his mind, memories of the event that sparked his PTSD.
“When I walked into the jail cell, and they closed the door behind me, I started feeling this anxiety,” Serna said. “It came back—a flashback.”
As an Army Sargent First Class, Serna survived an IED and a suicide bomber during his time in Afghanistan, but that wasn’t the event that shook him. Instead, it was a simple truck ride with three other men in his company that proved to be the most horrific event of his life.
“We were following the creek and the road gave way,” Serna recalled, tearfully, “And the vehicle went into the creek.”
As the water began rising in the truck, Serna found himself stuck and totally unable to move. The water rose up to his chin before finally subsiding and, tragically, he was the only one to leave that truck alive. Because of this incident, Serna not only suffers from PTSD, but extreme claustrophobia.
Judge Olivera, however, wasn’t finished with Serna. “I knew what Joe was going through and I knew Joe’s history. And he had to be held accountable,” Olivera said, “but I just felt I had to go with him. I felt I had to go with him.”
Within a few minutes of being locked up, Serna received the surprise of a lifetime when Judge Olivera walked through the door to join him for the night.
“We talked about our families,” Serna said, smiling. “The walls didn’t exist anymore. He brought me back to North Carolina from being in a truck in Afghanistan.”
“He is a judge, but that night, he was my battle buddy,” Serna said. “He knew what I was going through. As a warrior, he connected.”
And, just like that, Olivera, who saw his brother-in-arms struggling, lifted him up and carried him through the night, and hopefully sparked a change leading to a brighter future for Serna.
WATCH: A Group of Strangers Work Together to Save Puppies From Pet Store Inferno
The incredible lengths even a stranger off the street will go to in order to save a life, even when their efforts may put their own lives at risk, never cease to amaze.
When a fire broke out at Puppy Love, a pet store in Danbury, Connecticut, 86 terrified puppies were trapped in the blaze.
According to San Antonio Express-News, the call came in around 9 pm that the building had caught fire, and firefighters arrived on the scene in just two minutes. A second alarm was called in right away, but the firefighters knew they had to act quickly to rescue the animals inside.
“Chief, we gotta get the animals out,” one firefighter was overheard saying.
That’s when concerned members of the Danbury community started coming out of the woodwork to help rescue the howling dogs inside Puppy Love.
Civilians stopped their cars in the street, diners at neighboring restaurants got up from their seats, and even the manager of a nearby bar ran to the scene to break into the building and start pulling out crates containing the helpless, whimpering pups.
Even with brave citizens boldly smashing windows to rescue dogs in their crates, the sheer volume of animals inside forced them to come up with another plan.
With the heaviest flames still at the back of the building, the incredible crew of firefighters and civilians quickly formed a “human chain” to pull the dogs out of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Williams said.
Thanks to their bravery, all 86 dogs and puppies were safely evacuated from the building and no injuries to animal or human were reported.
Sean Silverman, who co-owns Puppy Love with his wife, Nancy, revealed that the fire originated at a pole barn behind the store owned by a local utility company.
The Silvermans made their immense gratitude to the community who rallied behind them known in a recent Facebook post.
“We want to thank all of the Danbury Fire Department, City of Danbury Police Department, many veterinarian staff of Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital and South Salem Animal Hospital, staff of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza and the whole community of Danbury and beyond for reaching out and helping the Puppy Love family!”
“All of our puppies are safe, warm and happily ate an extra dinner tonight,” they continued. “Stanziatos was kind enough to open their doors to us so our puppies have temporary housing while our store can be cleaned and be put back to order.”
This fire could have been a heartrending tragedy, but thank goodness for the brave firefighters and civilians who risked their own lives to give this story a happy ending.
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