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Flickr / Jonathan Rees
Source: Flickr / Jonathan Rees

Cashier Is Fired Serving Hungry Old Lady after Store Hours, Later Boss Learns She Was His Mom – Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Jul 18, 2022
05:00 A.M.
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A young man who works at a grocery store is fired for serving an elderly lady after closing time. Then his angry boss discovers who the hungry customer was.

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"You're FIRED!" George Martell screamed. "FIRED!"

Steward Hallson cringed. His life wasn't easy. His mom was on disability and his dad had passed away just as he was about to start college. Steward worked double shifts to support his mom, and now he was fired.

Steward had no one to blame but himself. He'd known when he broke George's rules what he was risking, and yet, he'd do it all again...

Steward worked at the grocery store to support his mother. | Source: Unsplash

Steward worked at the grocery store to support his mother. | Source: Unsplash

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It had all started late the previous night when Steward was closing the till. The store's phone had rung and Steward answered: "Martell's Grocery!"

"Hello," said a woman's voice. "I wanted to place an order for immediate delivery..."

Never forget that the stranger you help is someone's beloved family.

"I'm so sorry, Ma'am," Steward said. "I'm afraid we've just closed and all our delivery staff is gone."

"Oh, no!" cried the woman. "Is there any possibility of you making an exception? You see, I've just come back from a long trip. My son was supposed to bring me groceries, but he apparently forgot. I don't even have a quart of milk or a crust of bread in the house, and I'm so hungry!"

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Steward closed the store after the late shift. | Source: Unsplash

Steward closed the store after the late shift. | Source: Unsplash

Steward thought quickly. "Listen, Ma'am," he said. "This is against store policy, but... give me your address and I'll bring you some groceries."

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He quickly packed a grocery bag with bread, milk, eggs, honey, fruit, and some vegetables. Then he took the keys to one of the delivery scooters and set off to deliver the order.

When he got there, he was surprised to see that the woman was in her eighties, with a bright sunny smile and a young voice. "Here you are, Ma'am," Steward said.

"How much do I owe you?" the woman asked.

Steward shrugged. "I had already closed the till, Ma'am," he explained. "So this time it's in the house."

A desperate customer called asking for a delivery. | Source: Unsplash

A desperate customer called asking for a delivery. | Source: Unsplash

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The woman stepped forward and kissed Steward on the cheek. "Young man, you will go far!"

Unfortunately, it looked as if she was very wrong. Steward wasn't going far. He was fired and on his way to the unemployment line. "You took one of the delivery scoters!" George screamed. "Our insurance doesn't cover you!"

"Mr. Martell," Steward tried to explain. "Nothing happened..."

"I don't care!" George snapped. "You broke the rules! You're not supposed to go joy-riding! And where is the money for the delivery?"

Steward blushed. "Well, the till was already closed, and the woman was hungry and desperate. So I didn't charge her..."

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Steward packed groceries for the hungry woman. | Source: Unsplash

Steward packed groceries for the hungry woman. | Source: Unsplash

"You didn't charge her? Am I a charity?" George turned purple with rage. "I don't care if she WAS starving! You're FIRED! FIRED!"

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It was then that a quiet voice interrupted George's rant: "I'm the hungry woman you don't care about, George!"

George spun around and his mouth fell open. "Mom?" he gasped. "But...What?"

"Twenty-six years ago, your father and I opened this store," the old lady said. "We were part of this community, and this community made us a success.

"We vowed that we'd be there for anyone who needed us! You don't seem to have understood that, George! In the two years you've been running the store, you haven't shown community spirit. You could learn from this young man you are trying to fire!"

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Steward took one of the store's scooters. | Source: Unsplash

Steward took one of the store's scooters. | Source: Unsplash

"But mom..." George gasped.

"Don't 'mom' me!" the woman said. "I'm still the owner of this store, and I'm promoting this young man to night manager."

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The promotion came with a hefty raise and some excellent benefits. Steward's mom was delighted.

At first, George and Steward had trouble getting along. But as time went by, George grew to appreciate Steward's talent for dealing with customers. The store had more and more customers, and they always came back for more.

"You could learn from this young man you are trying to fire!" | Source: Unsplash

"You could learn from this young man you are trying to fire!" | Source: Unsplash

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Mrs. Martell made sure Steward went to college and earned an MBA. George and his mother opened a second, then the third store, and pretty soon, Steward was managing a chain of seven grocery stores.

At the opening of the eighth store, Steward dedicated his success to his mom. “Everything I have, everything I've achieved was possible only thanks to the way you raised me," he said. "Thank you, mom!"

What can we learn from this story?

  • Always treat everyone with kindness and you will be rewarded with kindness. Steward's gesture towards the unknown woman was rewarded with a level of success he'd never imagined.
  • Every stranger is someone's mother or father, son or daughter. Never forget that the stranger you help is someone's beloved family and worthy of consideration.
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Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a bookstore clerk who kicks out a poor woman hanging around the shop reading books and is shocked when his boss runs out of the store after her.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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