Cashier Who Used Her Last $20 To Help A Customer Inspires Neighborhood To Pay It Forward

Rita Jackson Burns works as a cashier at the Walgreen’s located at 8413 Stella Link in Houston and is inspiring people in Houston with her acts of kindness.


Rina Liou met Rita on Monday, September 7 when she walked into the store after 2 p.m. She was running against time as she needed to pick up some light bulbs but the realtor needed to show a home at 2:30 p.m. to a client. “I’m just going to make a dash to Walgreens. And I never go there,” said Liou. “I go there and I get my light bulbs. And when I went to pay, my heart just sank.”

Liou forgot her wallet and she grabbed her husband’s phone by mistake. “I’m like, shaking. Trying to figure out Apple Pay. Couldn’t figure it out.”

Act of kindness

Rita told her not to worry, “I said, I will go ahead and pay for it, for you,” said Ms. Rita. “I just was a little short on funds.” The 58-year old said she had just paid bills. She only had $20 in her bank account. “She really needed it so I just looked up at God and said, I guess I’m going to do it,” said Burns who prayed her finances would all work out as she swiped her debit card to cover $12.41.

“She saved me,” said Liou. “I couldn’t believe that a stranger would do that for another stranger. Like, she didn’t know me. I didn’t have to come back.” Liou made it to her listing then grabbed her wallet and returned to the Walgreens. She paid Burns back and as a thank you — gave her a little extra. Then Liou shared her experience on social media. “And I couldn’t believe all the comments.”


Soon they started a fundraiser for Rita with an initial goal of $5,000 which was reached within 24 hours by neighbors and then they raised the goal to $8,000. Till now the crowdfunding site had collected $6,045 for Ms. Rita. “Melissa! They’re my people,” said Ms. Rita when interviewed by KHOU11 News Reporter Melissa Correa during a Zoom interview. “You come in and say, hey Rita! I’ll be like, hey Melissa! You’ll be like, Hey Rita!”

Rita is a grandmother who lives in the moment and she is a person who can make a genuine connection in the seconds it takes to ring up a customer. One neighbor wrote that she leaves Walgreens inspired to be a better version of herself, “because of me,” asked Burns. Yep. Because of Rita Jackson Burns.

Rita has lived a modest life and worked at the same Walgreens for 38 years and greets everyone with pure joy, not all customers enter with a good mood. “And I try to ease their tension too. You know, how you doing today,” said Burns. “I just try to find something to talk to them about. To get them off their mind, maybe, just for a minute.”

“I try to treat people the way I want to be treated,” said Burns. Because when we lead with humanity, the world becomes a better place. “Humanity is greater than your job occupation, your status,” said Liou. And to her neighbors, Burns says, “I thank them all. Can you go on there and tell them, she says thank you?”

What an extraordinary person she is and is inspiring Houston and all of America with her kind attitude and helpful nature.

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