Flushing Middle School Blueberry Ambassadors give gifts of kindness in return for ‘huge smiles’

Flushing Middle School, coordinators Jill Mitchell, Cris Bade, and Elizabeth Oele

Blueberry Ambassadors helped light the candles for the annual Flushing Candlewalk. Some also chose to volunteer with concessions or participate in the Gingerbread House Contest.

Each Blueberry Ambassador chose a few childhood favorite books to read to a small group of younger children during March for Reading Month. Several of them mentioned how they enjoyed being read to as younger kids, so they would like to do the same.

Hendrix Ayers
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I helped my Aunt Kristina by watching her four kids while she was taking care of her new baby because it’s difficult to do two things at once. I helped her because she asked me to and I didn’t mind. I was at her house when I was babysitting her kids. My Aunt Kristina was grateful that I was there to watch the kids. The experience was eye opening because sometimes you think you can handle everything then one day you can’t handle it anymore because you have too much to do and you can’t do it all. Then you go to ask for help and it’s not always there to be given, so when it’s there take it. All you need to do is ask.

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I was at the Genesee District Library when I helped a lady named Cynthia find books that were requested by someone that went to a different library. I helped Cynthia because she looked really tired. Cynthia was happy that I was helping her because that’s what I like to do, help people. I had felt great because I helped her. I learned it’s okay to take help when it’s given because it’s not always there to accept.

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I made Eli a hat because I wanted to and he didn’t know how to make one. I made the hat at home and gave him the hat on the bus. He was happy that I made him the hat. I was happy to find a use for my crocheting skills. I learned it feels great to do something for someone else and see the smile on their face.

Lauren Brokaw
On Saturday, November 18, I had a basketball game at the Cage. I decided that after my game I would go to Meijer and complete my first Blueberry Moment. When I entered the store, I noticed that there was a family with a little boy that wanted to ride the pony. Unfortunately, none of them had a spare penny so I immediately asked my mom for some pennies. She gave me a handful of pennies and I walked over to the pony and set the pile down along with my Blueberry Card. I walked away feeling good about what I had just done. As I was leaving the store, I noticed the little boy from the family happily riding the pony. After I left, I felt very happy knowing that I made that little boy’s day.

I woke up Monday morning and realized we had gotten a lot of snow. My dad told me to go shovel our driveway but while I was outside I got the idea to shovel my neighbor’s driveway also. My neighbor just moved in this past summer and I wanted to do something nice. I walked across the road and began shoveling the driveway with my sister. It took about 15 minutes, and when we were finished I set the Blueberry Card on her porch. After I had completed this Blueberry Moment I felt very happy and I’m sure I made my neighbor happy too.

I helped my widowed neighbor across the street take care of her dogs. My neighbor was going on vacation and I offered to help take care of her dogs. I let them out and cleaned up after them all weekend. I felt good after helping out my neighbor because I knew she had gone through some hard times and she really needed help. I left my Blueberry Card on her table along with a note thanking her for letting me help. I hope that she will pass on the kindness.

Jonathan Brown
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A few weeks ago, at Flushing Middle School, there was a dodgeball tournament after school that I went to with my friends. We spent most of the time walking around the hallway and talking instead of watching the game and after the team that another one of my friends was on won, I saw him in the hallway and he was really tired and was struggling to stand, so I got in line to buy him two slices of pizza to help him regain his energy so he could keep playing and after the game was over I gave him the Blueberry Ambassador card.

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During Christmas Break, I asked if I could stay at my cousin Caiden’s house for two days since we don’t get to hang out together that much because Caiden lives about 40 minutes away from me. It took a few hours to convince my mom, but she agreed. We played together all night when we got to his house. The next day, I walked downstairs and noticed that Caiden’s mom and dad had a lot to clean up in the house and there was a lot of snow on their yard so I offered to help them. I started with the dishes and Caiden said he wanted to help too so he started sweeping the floors. Eventually we finished all the chores that we were assigned to and then I handed his parents the Blueberry Ambassador Card. I hope that Caiden might join the Blueberry Ambassadors if he gets the chance because with his kind personality, I know that he will do great.

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During the weekend, I went to Office Depot to print some pictures for a Social Studies project that I was working on because my printer had run out of ink. When we arrived there, I brought my computer and my project to find & print the images that I needed, but I accidentally left the project in the car. My mom gave me the keys and then I hurried through the nearly empty parking lot where I saw an elderly woman trying to get her items that she had bought into her car. I hesitated for a few seconds, thinking that my mom would be mad at me for taking so long, but I decided to help anyway. I walked over and offered to help and she said okay in a slightly monotone voice. After I put the last item in the backseat of her car, I almost walked away without giving her the Blueberry Card, but luckily, I remembered and then I ran back to her before she got into her car and handed her my final Blueberry Card. After she left, I went to the car and grabbed my project from my seat and hurried back to the store and finished printing the rest of the pictures. Fortunately, my mom didn’t even notice that I was gone for so long because she and one of the employees were talking the entire time.

Gwenyth Burdis
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My mom and I were talking about how her mom would sometimes anonymously pay for people’s bills when they were out eating and so that inspired me to do the same thing as a random act of kindness for Blueberries. We were eating at Liberty in Flushing and I asked my mom if I could use one of my Blueberry Cards there, so my mom and I started looking for someone that we could pay their bill for. I then asked my mom if we could pay the bill for the elderly man in front of us. My mom walked up to one of the waitresses and asked if it would be ok if we paid the bill for the man. The waitress said yes and asked if we wanted her to tell him who paid for him. We said no, but handed her the Blueberry Card and asked her to give it to him. The waitress went up to the man, told him his meal was paid for, and put the card on the table. The man asked who paid and what the card was and she just said, ‘I don’t know and you’ll just have to read it.” He was pretty surprised. After we had the card given to him, I was worried my brother Luke would give it away that it was us. It was kind of funny. After the man left, we explained to Luke what the card was and why I did it. I thought I was really nice to pay the bill for the man and I felt really good afterwards. I think it was a really great experience too.

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For my second Blueberry Moment, I chose to help my neighbor by shoveling her driveway. My neighbor isn’t home a lot because of the shift she works, so sometimes my sister and I will help by shoveling her driveway after a snowstorm. We’ve done it a couple times over the past two years, after some large snowstorms. She’s always appreciates our help and she’s always thankful.

For my third Blueberry Moment, I chose to help out my grandparent’s friends by taking up their garbage bins. I thought of the idea after one of the snow storms when there was A LOT of snow piled down by the road, where the garbage bins go. I then remembered one time when they were saying how much they hate taking up their garbage bins. Plus, we drive by their house after school pretty much every day. So, one day on my way home, I told my dad to stop by their house so I could bring their garbage bins up to their garage. I was just glad to be helping them out.

Garrett Carvounis

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On this day, my dad and I went to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. After we had ordered, a police officer had come in and ordered also. I decided that at that moment it was a great time to do something nice for someone and also to show our respect to the officer and his duties we paid for his meal. While we were there, a woman had asked about the Blueberries and found it very interesting. Obviously, we had told the officer, but it is great that people can learn about the Blueberries. Before everything that we did I was a little bit nervous to talk to somebody random. Now, people shouldn’t be afraid to do acts of kindness that really make a difference.

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As the season of giving came, my hockey team decided that we needed to do something special for the holidays. We needed to be more than just a hockey team, so while our veterans were out at sea or on the battlefield we sent thank you cards to show them that we appreciate what they do for our country. Also, at the North End Soup Kitchen, we had decided to help the less fortunate people and the community. I had left the Blueberry Card in the kitchen to give to the workers, who in turn could help and give someone else a helping hand. Since my team had figured we had done something helpful, we decided to do this again next year and continue to spread kindness.

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Over the winter we have had some crazy periods of snow, on and off. During all those times my older brother and I decided that we didn’t want our neighbor to have to go outside and shovel her driveway. This also helps her because of her condition, but it’s not my job to tell anyone about that. So, we figured when the snow piled up we would do it for her. Throughout the past few years as we have been growing up, we would always help her and she would always offer us money. We tell her, “This is not a business, we just wanted to help you out.”

Bethany Crosby          
My Blueberry Moment is about being thoughtful. One day, on music day, I was riding the bus to school and there was a girl who brought her iPod, earbuds, but no money. She looked very bummed. Lucky for her, I brought five dollars instead of one, so I thought that I could make someone’s day and buy them a wristband, so I did. It didn’t cost that much, but at least she didn’t feel left out. I know it wasn’t much, but it made me feel good.

My Blueberry Moment is about uplifting people because I feel it is important. One day I noticed that one of my good friends was acting very weird. That was not like her, so I asked what was wrong. Apparently one of her friends was being a bully to her. I knew it was bothering her so I had an idea. Later that day, I sent her a text saying that she was strong, beautiful, and awesome and the response was bringing tears to my eyes. She said she was so grateful that I texted her and she loved me. It makes me feel amazing that I made her day.

A couple days ago I saw my friend during advisory struggling with her social studies project. So, for a Blueberry Moment, I decided to help her. I used my own project to answer any questions she had. She was thankful for that because it was due that day.

Olivia Groulx
My first Blueberry Moment was when I went downtown Flint with my friends to a church. We picked up leaves and help take out the air conditioners for the winter. Going downtown really opened my eyes to see how these people live. There were so many houses that were closed and written on it just opened my eyes to a whole new world.

My grandma and papa were exhausted from all the hospital visits. Also, it was the first day they got their puppy so I decided to help them out by cleaning their house and puppy sitting for them so they weren’t so exhausted.

After a Flushing Varsity District game, I noticed the man who was cleaning up the trash was way over his head. So, I got my sisters and my friends to help out and pick up the trash. We all chipped in and it was done in no time. I wasn’t able to tell him about the Blueberry Ambassadors because I had to leave right after I finished picking up, but I know I had done a good thing and I had a good feeling that night and well into the next day. I hope I influenced the man even though I wasn’t able to tell him about the ambassadors. 

Kylie Kapraun

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I was talking to my parents about what I wanted to do for my Blueberry Ambassador Moment. We were bouncing ideas off one another. During Christmas break, my family spent a lot of time together. One of the nights, my dad and I went to the movies – just the two of us. Before the movie, we stopped by a local McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Inside McDonald’s, there was a man who looked homeless or at least in need of some support. We watched him as we ate our meal. After we were finished, my dad and I talked about how fortunate we were. We had just eaten a hot meal, whatever we wanted to order and some people can’t do that. My dad and I went up to the counter and ordered a large coffee, a burger and fries and delivered it to this man’s table. It was a frigid night outside that night, hot coffee and warm food were surely a welcome sight for this man who was all alone. He thanked us for our thoughtfulness and we handed him my Blueberry Card. I explained to him that all the Blueberries were doing was paying it forward for others. We went on our way, knowing that for that moment, we had helped that man.

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Recently, my family and I were at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw watching the Harlem Globetrotters. There were a lot of people there. People were standing, walking around, and wanting to get pictures and autographs. It was a lot of fun. At intermission, we walked to the concession stand and I was able to get a t-shirt. We walked around and just tried to see all that we could see. While we were walking back to our seats, we saw a boy getting up and down in his seat. He was sitting with his brother and his parents and maybe his grandparents. Everyone was excited and he was trying to catch a t-shirt or something that was being thrown at him from one of the participants. One of the times that the boy jumped up, I saw a phone slide out of the chair and onto the ground and then it slid down under the seat. I immediately went over to him and picked up the phone and tapped him on the shoulder. The parents looked at me strangely, probably wondering why I was touching their son. I then lifted their new iPhone and handed it to the boy. The boy was so happy and the parents were totally shocked. They thanked me over and over again. I started to walk away. As I was a few feet away, I thought to myself, this would be a good time to give someone a Blueberry Card. I turned around and walked back, handing the card to the boy and explaining to the parents what the card stood for. They had never heard of the Blueberries. Hopefully they will spread a little kindness in their hometown.

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I was at my German Club in Sterling Heights enjoying some dinner at an event. Someone who was older was at the table next to me. She was having a hard time getting up so I thought that I could do something about it. Since no one else was coming over, I thought that I could help her. I got out of my chair and walked over to her, I told her that she could sit down and that I would get her food. She was so happy! I asked, “What would you like and I will get it?” She responded with, “A little bit of all of everything, all German food is good!” I chuckled and said, “That is very, very true!” I started to walk away and she said thank you again! I was walking through the line with a plate for the woman and a plate for me. When I went back to the table she proceeded to ask me about my Oma which is grandma in Germand and she was also her friend. Once we were done talking, I went back to my table and grabbed a Blueberry Card. When I returned to her table to ask if she had heard about the Blueberry Card, she replied saying that she had never heard of it. I explained what the Blueberry Ambassadors were and what the goal was, she was very excited and couldn’t wait to use it!

Alex Lang
For my first Blueberry Moment, I decided to give Pokemon cards to a kid on my bus.

His name is Gavin, and he is in second grade. Every day on the bus he always has Pokemon cards. He is so excited to show them to people and I thought that maybe he would want some more. I asked him about it, and he thought it was a great idea. I also wanted to give him these because, when I was in second grade, a sixth grader gave me all his Pokemon cards. This made me very happy, so I wanted to do the same thing for Gavin.

It all started when my grandparents gave me a challenge. It was to see how much money I could raise for kids in Haiti in a month. Every school lunch there is about 15 cents, so the money I saved would be used to purchase lunches for these children. I began by going through my spare change and sorting it into groups of 15 cents. In all, I gathered $34, which would be about 226 meals. It made me feel especially good because I was helping them get one of life’s necessities. This was special because we take food for granted here in America, and in other countries, it’s not like that.

Mrs. Oele and Mrs. Bade are the teacher sponsors for the FMS Blueberry Ambassador group. They volunteer their time to organize all the group projects we do. Not only that, but they also buy donuts for every meeting. I thought it would be a good idea to buy the donuts for the group. By getting the donuts for the group, it saves Mrs. Oele and Mrs. Bade a trip to the store early in the morning. Mrs. Oele and Mrs. Bade are so giving of their time that I thought this would show how much I appreciate them. The donuts always brighten my day and I’m sure they do that for the other Blueberry Ambassadors as well. The Blueberries are always doing nice things for other people, so I wanted to do something nice for them for a change.

Scott Mignerey
I had helped set up a wooden pageant of Christ’s birth for my neighbor. It is pretty heavy, and it requires two people.

I had gotten up early on a Sunday. I got up earlier than for a normal school day. I had gone to my church’s neighborhood breakfast. They provide breakfast for people and families in need. My family does it every once in a while. That day it was just my father, brother, and me. I helped make the eggs, and set up the serving tables which

I enjoyed doing. I think the most important thing was at the end. When everything was getting put away, I walked up to a homeless lady. We started to talk. She told me about how her life was a jumble, it was confusing. She had told me about her friend and how her friend could not get their personal ID card. I told her that I would pray for her. Then, she left. Just as she left, I started to pray, I had prayed that God would make her life much easier. That He would sort it out. That was so important; I felt like I really connected with her. She also taught me a lesson. I do not think that she even realized it. She taught me that everyone is the same, and no one is different no matter who they are. Everyone has ups and downs. I just hope that I made her feel better.

I had helped Mr. Cook finish taking down the race format. The tape was very hard to get off the floor. I got most of it off before it was time to go.

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For my Blueberry Moment I chose to give a kid in my school who is less fortunate than many of us a pair of shoes. I noticed that the shoes he has now are ripped and the bottoms are coming off. As his shoe problem was getting worse I gave him a pair of my shoes that I didn’t wear anymore, so the next morning I put the shoes in his locker with the Blueberry Card in them. I never got to see him open his locker but the next hour I had with him he had the shoes on. When I saw this, it made me smile and when people in the class asked about his new shoes he smiled also.

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For my Blueberry Moment, I chose to give a girl in my school some of my sister’s old clothes because I noticed this girl didn’t have a lot of clothes and she wears the same outfit most days of the week. I didn’t get to see the girl open her locker to see the clothes. I am sure she is happy that she got new clothes because she never was happy until the day I gave her the clothes. All I did was slip the card in the pocket of one of the sweatshirts hoping she will find it and spread the word of the Blueberries.

Ben Mitchell

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I noticed, when the snow started melting, that there was a lot of trash around my school. Like water bottles and candy wrappers and random papers, things that just made my school look kind of trashy. So, one night when my mom was working late, I took a bucket and went outside to pick up trash around the school. At first, I thought it was gross picking up trash, but then one of my friends who was waiting for a ride after basketball practice started to help me and I thought it wasn’t so bad. I stopped thinking about how gross picking up someone else’s trash is and about how much I was helping Mr. Hickey and the other custodians.

Emma Owens
About a week before Christmas my grandma and I chose to buy Christmas presents for a few kids that aren’t as fortunate. We bought them each a new outfit and some toys. We then wrapped them up and put a bow on top to take them to my grandma’s church. Giving the children hugs and seeing their big smiles made me feel good about myself. By knowing that there’s families that can’t afford much helps me realize to be more grateful and thankful for everything I have.

Since this past week was exam week, we’ve all been stressed. One of my friends was very nervous that she wouldn’t do well on her science exam, so I offered to help her study. We Facetimed after school every afternoon for a few days to quiz each other and make sure that we were both ready for the exam. On the day of the exam, she was feeling a lot more prepared and confident that she would do good. When I heard that she got an A, I was so happy that I was able to help her. Seeing her proud of her grade made me feel good about myself because I helped someone through a hard time.

On Friday, February 9, we had a snow day. We got tons of snow, so my brother and I decided to go sledding in our backyard. Later as we were heading to the front yard, my dad said that he was going to shovel our neighbor’s driveways. I thought that was a great idea and that I could do that for a random act of kindness. Once we finished, I set the Blueberry Card on their front porch and they later came by with dinner to thank us. Doing this helped remind me that doing a simple task can make someone’s day.

Reagan Peck
My first Blueberry Moment takes place on the bus. It seems like such an ordinary thing, but like it first was for me. One day I met a little boy named Gavin. As we got to know each other, I realized that Gavin was a really kind, imaginative, and creative. We soon became buddies. So ever since then, we sit next to each other and write stories, talk, and play games till I am dropped off. On one of these days of riding the bus together, the topic of his Birthday came up. As Gavin was explaining some gifts he wanted, he said something stat surprised me. I asked him if he was excited to celebrate his birthday. His answer was that he was very excited, but also sad. When I questioned why, he said that his sister was sick in a hospital in New Jersey with his mom, where the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. And to make it worse, he told me that they couldn’t make it home for his birthday. Right then and there I decided to go out that week and buy him a present. Since I knew he loved writing stories and drawing pictures, I got him his own colored markers, pens, drawing pad, and a few other fun things. When it was the day of his birthday, I knew that giving him the gift would make him feel a little bit better, and the huge smile on his face made me so happy.

My second Blueberry Moment was when I was getting dropped off at school in the morning. As we pulled up, I saw a girl I knew get out of her car, but she dropped her scarf. I was surprised at how all the line of cars behind her drove right over top of it, and all the kids ignored it was there. Quickly I told my mom to pull over to where she had dropped her scarf. I hopped out of the car, said goodbye to my mom, and grabbed the scarf before another car pulled up. Soon I found the owner of the scarf and returned it safe and sound.

My third Blueberry Moment was helping a good friend in a fashion emergency! She showed up to my locker with a minor problem. She quickly explained how she spilled coffee on herself in the car. I saw for myself the damaging tan stains all over her jeans, so I swiftly walked in front of her, shielding the spills, all the way to the bathroom. After getting permission from a teacher, I grabbed paper towel from the teachers’ lounge and carried it to the bathroom where an anxious girl was waiting. Unfortunately, the stains didn’t come all the way out, but they did fade a little.

Ella Schmidt
For my first Blueberry Moment we went and served Thanksgiving dinner to people in need. We went to the Salvation Army the night before Thanksgiving to give back. It was a lot of fun. I served food, bused tables, and helped little kids get food. I was happy that we went to help. Happy Thanksgiving!

For my second Blueberry Moment, my brother and I raked leaves for my old neighbor. Both her and her husband are very old and not able to get around much so we decided to help them. It didn’t take very long. I felt very good after we helped them.

For my last Blueberry Moment, I went over to my neighbor’s house after a big snowstorm to shovel her walkway. She has a very long front porch she uses to get in and out of her house easily. She is very old and is unable to do it herself. Because she was unable to do it, I decided with my brother we would go and help her out. After we got done she was very grateful and thanked us. It made us feel very good that we could help her and now she is able to get in and out of her house easily. 

Graceyn Stratman
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For my first Blueberry Moment I made my teacher, Mrs. Phegley, a winter wreath. The next morning, I went to her room and gave her the wreath and the card. And said I gave this card to you as a random act of kindness and she gave me a hug.

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For my second Blueberry Moment I bought this girl sitting at my table a music day wristband. Since she forgot her dollar at home, I gave her the Blueberry Ambassador Card and said I’m giving you this card as a random act of kindness. Today, Cierra and I are really good friends.

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For my third Blueberry Moment, I made a hundred scarves with my grandma. During winter, I went to the North End Soup Kitchen and gave them the scarves and the card and they said thank you. After doing this I felt really good inside.

Piper Shanafelt

Early in the year my brother and I went to Central Elementary and picked up most of the walnuts on the playground. We decided to do this because a lot of people have gotten hurt on them from people throwing or stepping on them. My brother came home one day saying that many people got hurt and he also rolled his ankle on multiple walnuts. My mom, grandpa, sister, brother, and I went up and picked them up. It was for sure a lot more work than I thought it would be. It was nice to know in the end that since we picked up the majority of them a lot less people would get hurt.

When the leaves started falling my brother and I went over to my elderly neighbor’s house and raked his yard. Our neighbor is in his late 80’s and my brother and I figured that it would be kind to rake his leaves for him. Our dad also helped by blowing the leaves off of his driveway. Our neighbor came home and told our mom that he was surprised to come home to see all of his leaves raked into the street. He thanked our mom for raking our leaves and said that he really appreciated it. I felt really good knowing that our neighbor wouldn’t have to go outside and do all that hard work.

Every year Flushing has a Candlewalk. At the Candlewalk there is always a Lions Club concession stand. This year, I was given the privilege to work in the concessions. While there, I was able to pour hot chocolate and coffee, scoop popcorn, and also take money and orders from people ordering. It was actually a lot more fun than I expected and I would love to do this again.

DeAsia Taylor

When my mom and I went to her class at the University of Michigan, I had to sit out in the hallway and watch TV. I was sitting by a man and he started shaking. I realized he was having a seizure. I ran to get my mom for help when the class was over. My mom and I realized the man was homeless and was inside to stay warm. We gave him dinner from the class and two little scriptures. He told us that no one had ever done anything sweet for him like this before.

My mom and I went to her friend’s home because she is very ill. We brought her groceries and we sat down and talked with her because her son died and no one can come and keep her company. My mom also has another friend that just had surgery on her knee and all of her kids are out of state, so we go visit her every day and sometimes have dinner with her.

When I went into the store with my brother and dad, this woman was in an aisle looking confused. I went over and asked her what she was looking for. She told me wipes. I looked all over the store and when I finally found them I gave them to my dad which he then paid for. I told the cashier to give her the card it wasn’t much but it sure feels good doing something for someone else.

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