COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — In the midst of uncertainty over coronavirus, a Kroger associate at a Columbus store provided a bit of reassuring kindness on Tuesday to a neighbor in need.
Diana Haislet has lived on the west side of Columbus for seven years, in the Village Place senior living community off of Harrisburg Pike. Usually, she might have a few weekly visitors including family that lives across the street from Village Place.
Since last week, however, Village Place has shut down visiting hours over fears about coronavirus. With social functions on hiatus, Diana's only trip outside the home each week might be to the nearby Kroger on Eakin Road.
"We decided (today) we'd go to Kroger," she said. "I use one of the rider (motorized carts) because of disability. So my husband took one, and I took another, and off we went."
After about a half-hour, Diana said she had about everything she needed, and the total was $48 — but she only had $30 cash in her wallet.
"And I looked (at the counter) and I said, 'Oh that looks like more than $30," she said. "So I started putting the items back in my cart...then this other lady that was standing there, she came around and took the rest of my items and put them up on the counter."
Diana was puzzled and told the woman she needed to return the items to their shelves.
"And she said, 'No...I've got this," recalled Diana. "And she pulled out her credit card, and she paid the $18 that I didn't have. And I was just about in tears!"
The woman was Debbie Nichols, a 10-year employee in customer service at the Eakin Road store. Along with dozens of co-workers, Debbie has been feeling the pinch the last two weeks with shoppers clearing out shelves as they stock up in fear of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The stuff that she had in her cart was important stuff," Debbie told ABC 6/FOX 28 on Tuesday. "And if she couldn't it get it now when she needed it, the next time it might not be there."
Debbie says there was never a thought of thanks or praise.
"I don't do that for everybody...but I felt for her," Debbie said of paying for Diana's groceries. "That's the general rule of thumb: look out for each other in our time of need."
Diana says she only shops for groceries about every ten days. She hadn't recalled seeing Debbie at the Kroger store before, but will never forget her now.
"You don't see a lot of kindness anymore, unfortunately," Diana said on Tuesday. "And that was just very kind."