An exceptional act of kindness was witnessed at Central Fresh Market in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada when a man walked through the store, picking up items and dropping them into his knapsack to take off with them.
As he was trying to exit, he was stopped and the contents of his bag were discovered which could have led to him being punished, but as one onlooker observed, he was treated with compassion instead.
“Just witnessed a man caught stealing at our local grocery,” tweeted an account by the handle Drkradersma on April 20. “Watched the owner confront him and pull fruits & vegetables out of his pack.”
“Then heard the owner say, ‘we will feed you.’ 5 minutes later saw the man walking thru the parking lot with a bag full of groceries.”
The owner, Mike Williamson, apparently caught the man, but after assessing the situation, he gave him a sandwich, a soda, some chips and some vegetables, according to what his son Josh said.
“You could tell he was just trying to feed himself,” Josh said. “We always prefer people to come in and ask for help rather than steal, but when you catch people stealing just to eat it’s a much different story.”
After the story became viral online, the Central Fresh Market’s social media account received a lot of love, both from long-time customers and from strangers impressed with the act of kindness.
“Thank You all for the positive comments,” the store posted on social media. “We were simply helping someone in need, many are very fortunate NOT to worry about their next meal.”
“Witnessing our #communities food insecurity first hand is heartbreaking. We believe it is of great importance to help those in need.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to recognize a long term employee for volunteer week, Jeff Bam Bam Meyer,” they added on Facebook. “Jeff continually goes above and beyond to help those in need, he personally delivers products to Supportive Housing of Waterloo and has coordinated great initiatives with many of our vendors.”
“It is an ordinary day when Jeff reaches into his own pocket to support somebody in need, whether it be by putting together a food hamper or taking a shoplifter to Tim Hortons for a coffee and donut.”
“Jeff is an incredible promoter of our #communities #outreach programs – Jeff makes sure everyone in need is aware help exists, and how to get it!”
The store regularly donates to food banks and does a lot of work to make sure people know about available resources. “So we’re really trying to push on that and drive the awareness that a little bit really means a lot to some people,” Josh said, admitting that it can be hard to reach people in need. “That’s the hardest part sometimes. People are embarrassed and it’s a touchy subject.”