Going Viral: Teen Target Cashier Patiently Helps An Elderly Lady Count Out Pennies To Pay For Items

Going Viral: Teen Target Cashier Patiently Helps An Elderly Lady Count Out Pennies To Pay For Items

A touching account of a young man helping an elderly woman count pennies to pay for her items has gone viral. The elderly woman took an extended amount of time to pay and the woman behind her captured the moment and it has swept the web.


An employee of a Target store in Indiana has become an internet star after a story about his patience and kindness to a customer was shared by tens of thousands online.

Ishmael Gilbert, 19, a cashier at Target in Glendale, Indiana, had only been working at the store for a few days when an elderly woman pulled up to his till. Right behind her was young mom Sarah Owen Bigler, 35, who later posted her lengthy account of the following events on her Facebookpage.

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‘Yesterday Matt was sick. I picked up Archie from the sitter and Eloise from school and decided to run to Target for a few things,’ she wrote. ‘I had hoped to be in and out quickly. I found a line with just one person ahead of me and began organizing my items on the conveyor.’

However, after organizing herself, Sarah looked up to see that the one person ahead of her was an elderly woman who was attempting to pay for her items entirely in change and with each one paid for separately.

‘Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a one-and-a-half year old having a melt down in the cart, the part that had set an unnecessary timeline for Target and getting home, was frustrated with this woman and the inconvenience she had placed on me,’ wrote Sarah.

‘BUT then I watched the young employee with this woman. I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands. I listened to him repeatedly saying “yes, mam” to her.’

She added that not once did the cashier roll his eyes or make any outward signs of being at all annoyed or inconvenienced by the women.

‘He was nothing but patient and kind,’ said Sarah.

Then, the mother also saw that her daughter Eloise was watching too and, she realized that ‘I hadn’t been inconvenienced at all’ and that instead, this stranger was teaching her daughter an important lesson in the golden rule.

‘Furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson,’ she added.

After the woman completed her transaction, Ishmael rang through Sarah’s items and thanked her for waiting so patiently. She, in turn, thanked him for his own extraordinary patience and, despite having initially been in a hurry, pushed her cart back in the store to find a manager and describing what she had witnessed.

The next day she shared the full story online, closing her tale with: ‘If you are ever in the Glendale Target, give Ishmael a smile and a nod. The world could use more people like him.’

The post quickly began to pick up steam, being shared by thousands who were inspired by the story. In five days, it has been shared 22,000 times.

Ishmael, himself a young father of a one-year-old daughter named Namya, woke up the following day to discover he had become an overnight internet star.

‘I was asleep at home and everyone was texting me, “check Facebook, check Facebook,”‘ he toldThe Indianapolis Star.

He explained that the elderly woman was ‘all worked up’ as the line behind her got longer. In fact, she was shaking. But Ishmael didn’t hesitate in helping her.

‘It just feels good to be recognized for good work,’ he added about his new online popularity. ‘But this isn’t something new. I treat all customers the same, the way I want to be treated.

‘It felt good because that’s the kind of example I want to be for my daughter,’ he added.

In truth, I can’t help but feel conflicted about this story. On one hand, one should always treat elders with respect and this young man demonstrated this mentality and for that, we should all applaud him.

On the other hand, though, the teller of this tale notes that she did not feel inconvenienced. That’s good for her, but what of the other twenty people piling-up behind her just trying to get-on with their day?

The town in which I reside is a very liberal city and constantly, I see people “doing good things” without regard for consequences for others. Priuses will stop in the middle of traffic to wave a pedestrian across the street and, undoubtedly, believe themselves to be “doing good.” But what they neglect to realize is that twenty cars had to slam on their brakes and are being inconvenienced in this act of irrational kindness.

Similarly, this tableau may be heart-warming, but is also an illustration of a lack of consideration for others who might actually be in a hurry.

God bless this elderly woman. However, if she has purchased any items in the past 45 years, it should have been evident that if one intends to pay for items with pennies, such change should have been counted-out before reaching the checkout.

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