With Power Out, Store Waves Shoppers Through Checkout

Generosity spreads to customers at Texas H-E-B
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2021 12:35 PM CST
With Power Out, Store Waves Shoppers Through Checkout
An employee hands out flowers to customers waiting in line in the snow Thursday at a H-E-B grocery store in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

A couple of hundred people were hurrying around a Texas grocery store to stock up during the storm emergency Tuesday when the power went out. A "collective groan" could be heard, one shopper said. The checkout lines at the H-E-B store in Leander were 20 carts long, the Washington Post reports, but Tim Hennessy noticed that they were moving surprisingly quickly. It wasn't until he reached the register and asked how he could pay that he learned why. "Please go ahead," the cashier told him, per KTEM, "but we can't bag anything up for you." All the shoppers, many with credit cards in hand, were being waved through. No one told them to put any items back on the shelves. "Just be safe driving home," the cashier said. When Hennessy saw carts on their way out filled with milk, diapers and other necessities, he started to tear up.

Outside, he saw that the spirit had reached the icy parking lot. People were holding bags for each other as they tried to keep from spilling their groceries. A group pushed a car whose wheels were just spinning on the ice. "Everybody started helping each other," Hennessy said. There was time to joke, said Hennessy, who told an employee on his way out, "Wait a minute, I forgot the filet mignon." No one said why the store didn't try to collect from anyone or wait to see if the power would be restored. "People are really good, and you see it in the tougher times," he said. Hennessy interpreted the store's thinking to be: "You're our customers. You probably need this stuff." Store management didn't comment, except to answer a tweet with: "Yes, this is a true story." (More uplifting news stories.)

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