Letter: Act of charity keeps Christmas spirit alive

The Detroit News

I'm a long-time member of the Lathrup Village Lions Club, involved in a cooperative effort with Big Boy, a local restaurant in Southfield. We provide a Christmas banquet for a U.S. army unit of 55 soldiers and their family members (about 120 total).

My Lions Club provides the hams and desserts for the meal while Big Boy restaurant provides a full turkey dinner with all the fixings. This holiday season, we have been given help and assistance in our charitable endeavors. 

People are silhouetted against a Christmas display, at a park in Lenexa, Kansas.

I buy most of my food from the Costco store in Madison Heights. There I was, taking advantage of the sale prices for deluxe hams and Sanders candy.

The regular customers were patient in the long check-out lines, friendly to one another and full of good spirit. I was waiting in such a line with a shopping basket of five holiday hams, and 10 containers of sanders caramels (the limit of each to get special discounts) waiting to checkout.

A lady in front of me, pleasant and nice looking, was buying a large Samsung TV for her company office. She noticed my purchases in my basket and said, "You must be having a large dinner party in the near future." 

As we moved along, I explained about the banquet for the soldiers and their families. As we moved up the line, we chatted amiably. Finally, the lady rolled her large cart up to the front and began to check out.

Then a small miracle occurred. She came back to me and said that she wanted to pay for all the ham I was buying (about $100 worth). I was taken aback and protested, saying that it wasn't necessary and that we had the money.

But she insisted, and as I came up to the teller, she instructed the same to ring up the five hams in my basket onto her bill.

I was speechless and then continued to check out myself. I was getting pretty emotional by now and just managed to touch her shoulder in a small measure of gratitude, saying how much I appreciated her kind act. We passed through the exit checkout with no problem. This gracious lady went her way, and I went mine.

This occurrence happened so fast, yet seemed so natural, that I was still in a state of shock at such a gracious deed. 

This was just one fine lady making a thoughtful gift to a croup of soldiers and their families in this happy holiday season. Thank goodness for her and others for keeping this spirit alive. 

As I continue this charitable work with the Lathrup Lions and others, I will fondly remember this beautiful lady at Costco. 

Jerald D. Stone, Lathrup Village