Something Unexpected At The Grocery Store Today

I was standing before the cashier at the grocery store. There was a piece of plastic recently installed between us. And not for the first time I thought:
1) This plastic does not offer protection for these cashiers.
2) These cashiers are likely being paid minimum wage.
3) These cashiers are in danger WAY more than most people.

I put my card into the slot thingy, and then the screen asked: Would you like cash?

A thought popped into my head. I glanced around, counted five cashiers, and typed in: $100. I said to the cashier: “Can I have that in 20s?”

She handed me five 20s. I handed her one back and said: “Thank you coming to work every day.” She was about my age and looked stunned.

I went to the adjacent cashier and did the same thing. She, too, looked stunned. Stunned. Then I went to the remaining three. All had the same reaction.

While I’m in terrible financial shape because my sales have mostly dropped off a cliff with zero sign of improving for many many months, this small effort today felt important. There are millions of people going to work daily with little to no protection but their service is helping many millions of other people. While $20 will do little I suspect that being appreciated will matter.






  1. Michele Engholm on April 13, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    God bless you Ross. What a thoughtful and kind thing to do.

  2. SANDY BURKE on April 13, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    You’re a great role model for all of us Ross……thank-you. YOU are appreciated…!

  3. Beth H. on April 13, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you, Ross… thank you. I’m crying as I type this. So many of these employees are treated like dirt, both by their employers and by the public. What you did is a beautiful gesture that probably goes far in reminding these folks that they ARE appreciated. My daughter is also an essential employee – a few steps up the pay scale from a cashier, as she’s a credit union financial services rep… but still not a paycheck that’s worth risking lives for, if any is! Although they’ve closed the lobby of the branch to walk-in customers, people are allowed to make an appointment for the types of things they’d need to see my daughter for… notarizations, home equity closings, loan applications, etc. Only one at a time is allowed in. Despite all those precautions, an employee came up with a positive test today, which means my daughter (and all of us at home) have now been exposed. My husband is 63, with sarcoidosis in his lungs, and this scares the hell out of me.

    • Amanda on April 13, 2020 at 8:46 pm

      Beth, my stomach flipped when I read this. May you and yours stay healthy and safe!!

    • David McDonald on April 13, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      Beth, I prayed that God would demonstrate His healing power to you and your family! I’m living proof!

      • Beth H. on April 13, 2020 at 9:47 pm

        Thank you both, Amanda and David. It’s been a tough day here – my daughter is not sick or showing any symptoms, and yet we need to treat her like Typhoid Mary… some hard days are ahead.

  4. Sandra Lee on April 13, 2020 at 7:59 pm


    The world is a more beautiful, wonderful place because you are in it!


  5. Miriam R Righter on April 13, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    You are a good person.

  6. Leigh on April 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    What you had done today Ross, will be fondly remembered as long as these cashiers (and anyone that hears/reads it) will tell the story. Not only that, you gave them a token of your appreciation even though you need it yourself. You, sir, is an exemplary being. Kudos!

    • Leigh on April 13, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      Ah, my grammar slipped. 😉
      *You are

  7. Kara on April 13, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you Ross!

    What a lovely thing to do.

    We are trying as hard as we can to be kind and helpful to those people who are on the front lines – and that includes delivery people and grocery store checkers. We’ve taken to having our groceries delivered and giving anywhere from a $20 to $40 tip.

    This is hard times for all of us and basic human decency and kindness goes far.

  8. David McDonald on April 13, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Niiiice!!! 👍
    Remember what Jesus will say when He returns to judge what we have done… “Truthfully, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you’ve done it to Me”. (Matt. 25:45) There’s your Bible lesson for the day! Lol.
    He saw! Your heart was moved, and you acted! Bravo!
    Love your compassion! You have a Great tender heart! Very cool.

  9. Tamara on April 13, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Oh Ross, that was a wonderful gesture and I sincerely hope those cashiers were able to keep your gift without getting into trouble. I worked at Walmart for several years and their “associates” were not allowed to accept tips or gifts from customers. I’m sure other big box stores have the same policy. I don’t know which store you were shopping at but, in the future, please make sure the recipient of your gratitude is allowed to keep the money and will not risk losing their job by doing so.

  10. Amanda on April 13, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    This is what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like. Thank you for sharing, Ross. This made my day. 🙂

    • Barb Sanford on April 14, 2020 at 9:18 am


  11. Barb Sanford on April 14, 2020 at 9:16 am

    You are a good soul.

    • Barb Sanford on April 14, 2020 at 9:18 am

      And I miss hanging out with you. Next time I’m in Emporia, lunch is on me. I’ll buy, and we’ll eat it from a safe distance, each perched on railings at opposite ends of your beautiful porch.

  12. E.J. on April 14, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I wish I had xtra cash to do this. During this time, I’m most frightened to go to the grocery store. I have ZERO control over what happens there. I’m terrified for the help, who have even less control than I. I noticed yesterday that they all had plastic gloves on. I asked my cashier why she was not wearing a mask. She said they were not allowed to, public perception, you see. I asked for the manager. When he came, I asked him why the staff was not wearing masks, as they are continuously exposed. He said “It looks unfriendly to the customers”. I said “Tough titty said the kitty. Don’t you care about their lives, and families? I have been shopping in this store for over 30 years. I know almost all of the help. Not giving them masks is criminal. Screw “Public Perception”. Without them, all you’ll have is an empty building. Give them masks!! Today, I will check & see if they did.

  13. Lindy on April 14, 2020 at 9:48 am

    You are so awesome. Hope you had a mask on!!

  14. tura wolfe on April 14, 2020 at 10:23 am

    As my Grandmother always said what goes around comes around. I do understand you reap what you sow. Seven lovely ladies were my angels once upon a time packing up a huge old house when bad times came my way and I had to move. I could not pack as I had just had my second back surgery on top of a spinal fusion. I will never forget them….Never.

    So, for years I have made it my thing to help ones that cross my path in need any way I can. The kindness given to me made me realize how much a helping hand no matter how large or small can change things for another.

    Today, one of my angels daughter ( a little kid that was in my carpool) lives around the corner from me. Now a grown lady. She is thrilled to dig up all sorts of plants from my yard to become her plants in her yard. Yes, it feels good to me. I am delighted. And ……she is going to take some or all of that $325.00 of treated wood that was my front porch ramp ( now a pile in my garage) to make a rack for her kayak and some raised garden beds. Yes, yes I am in angel league too . Isn’t it great when things turn out this way even if a little part of the return is forty years later.

    Ross, since finding your blog, I have known you are an angel. House angel. Cat angel. People angel. Special angel.

    I forget who said this or where I found it, but these words are written on a small piece of paper taped to my mirror..
    When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

  15. Nancy Lyn McPherson on April 14, 2020 at 2:23 pm


  16. Nathan on April 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    As one of those cashiers (not one of those SPECIFIC cashiers, but a 7-11 employee being paid minimum wage) god bless you for that. I Wouldnt know how to react myself! Id probably cry, good thing nobody has done that with me! That is so wonderful and i have to add, as helpful as $20 dollars is in these difficult times, its value is far exceeded by the renewed sense of hope in humanity and of appreciation that you have given those people. Speaking for myself, hope and appreciation from the general public is in short supply, many people are struggling with isolation and I am very often the first person people have been able to take out their frustration on in a long while. I have been cursed out daily, even had a piece of footwear hurled at me (one of the gas pumps wasn’t working.) The morale boost you gave those people is invaluable, heck even just reading about it has brightened my day.

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