The clients at a popular supermarket realized that a woman had been coming to the store to read the books for free and decided to act on it.
For 15 years, a poor older woman had been reading the books she couldn't afford at her local supermarket. The management of the store had apparently never noticed what was happening.
But one of the other clients, Bogdan Gdal, realized that every time he visited the store, the woman was standing in the book section, reading. The man walked up to her and found out her story, and what he did next changed her life.
The sweet old lady who was always in the store reading had once been happy, married to a man she adored, with a lovely family and an active social life. She shared her story with Bogdan. She explained:
“What else can I do? There is nothing to do at home. Life is hard ... ”
Books in the store | Source: Unsplash
The woman, Anastasia, confessed that her greatest pleasures had been reading and going to the theater with her children, but when her husband died, her life fell apart. A man who had gone to school with her children revealed on Facebook:
“Until her husband died, she was a very well-groomed, bright, intelligent woman who drove her children constantly to theaters. And then my husband died and everything went wrong."
After her husband's death, Anastasia's children abandoned her to her fate. Her income was small, and making ends meet was a struggle. There just wasn't enough money for books, and to keep herself informed about the world.
Left sad, poor and alone | Source: Unsplash
There was no help for Anastasia. Her son was a criminal and was sent to prison; and her daughter, even though she was apparently doing well, was an unsavory character and not interested in her elderly mother.
Bogan was impressed by Anastasia's care with the books she read, and her voracious appetite for learning, even at her age, and her determination to keep bettering herself, reading for hours, standing in the supermarket.
But it wasn't just the other clients who read about Anastasia and were moved by her sad, sweet story.
Anastasia reading in the store | Source: Facebook/ Bogdan Gdal
He shared the story on his Facebook page, and many other clients of the supermarket reacted to Anastasia's plight and commented on seeing her. They felt sorry for her having to read standing up and wrote:
"You just need to go to the administration and ask them not to kick the woman out, explain the whole story of her life and ask for a chair for her!"
“A nice, calm woman. I also see her very often, never asks for anything from anyone. I feel sorry for her, always alone.”
"Set a table for the woman, let her sit and read. I think the staff should bring her some tea."
Anastasia's couch | Source: Facebook/ Bogan Gal
But it wasn't just the other clients who read about Anastasia and were moved by her sad, sweet story. Inspired by their clients, the store's managers set up a special couch with comfy pillows just for Anastasia.
The local TV station learned about the story and hurried to interview Anastasia at her new, comfortable reading spot in the store's book section, and she became quite a celebrity.
TV crew interviews Anastasia | Source: Facebook/ Bogan Gal
Bogan's empathy brought Anastasia's story to the world, and the sympathy other people felt for the poor woman who loved to read so much she didn't mind standing on her feet all day to do it changed her life.
Like Bogan, all we have to do is really see what is happening in our world, all around us, and we will find many people that a kind word or a gesture of solidarity can help.
What can Bogana and Anastasia's story teach us?
1. Helping other people is easy. All Bogan had to do was write a Facebook post and he changed Anastasia's life.
2. Together we can accomplish great things. The way Bogan's story moved people inspired the store to make a kind gesture towards Anastasia.
3. Where there is a will there is a way. Anastasia didn't stay home and grieve about her sorrows, she went to the store and read books that inspired her -- even if she had to stand on her feet all day to do so.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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