There are two things most people can't get enough of in this world: Target runs and random acts of kindness. Which is precisely why the reason a stranger bought this mom a pumpkin spice candle at Target might just restore your faith in humanity. At least for a little bit.
As she detailed in a now-viral Facebook post, Erin Bennett was shopping at Target with two of her four kids in tow when she finally made it to the register. As the cashier rang up her items, she quickly hit her budget for the trip. Ugh, the worst right? Like moms everywhere, she took one for the team and unloaded a pumpkin spice scented candle and some eye makeup she had tossed in the cart, assuming that she could just get them next time.
Bennett told Romper that she does her best to stay within budget at Target. She said that she usually she meal plans and tries to "stay clear of aisles in which I know I don't NEED anything. It's no easy task, Target is a moms' paradise." So it was a total bummer that she had to give up the candle and makeup after all that.
But then an IRL angel stepped in and insisted he put the items on his bill instead and totally changed the tune of this mom's day. Bennett went home and took a picture of her gifted items and wrote a long Facebook post to show her gratitude to the kind stranger, whom she calls, "the man in line behind me at the Gainesville Target."
He had no idea what he was really doing when he offered to pay for the items, which weren't "unnecessary" at all.
Bennett wrote in her Facebook post, "You didn't know that the two fussy kids I had with me, were only two out of four. You didn't know that I have postpartum depression from the youngest babe and that I use scent as a way to boost my mood."
Bennett told Romper that she was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety with her youngest of four kids, so it's new to her. As a registered psychiatric nurse, though, she knows how important it is for new moms to do something nice for themselves. She's used to helping her patients with coping skills for when they leave the hospital but now she has her own to manage her postpartum depression and anxiety. Bennett told Romper:
Nursing my son takes up a lot of my day and brings me immense peace because I know the good I am doing for him and the bonding is incredible. Then things get hectic with packing lunches, drop offs, pick ups, etc., so naptime is a biggie for me. I get to light my candle, grab a soft blanket and maybe catch up on something I DVRd before I'm up and running again.
So, a nap and a scented candle aren't some silly superfluous thing to Bennett. It's pretty necessary, even though she was sure to tell Romper that her husband Ernie is always there to pick up the slack when she needs it. Still, when a mom needs a nap, she needs a nap.
Luckily, Bennett didn't have to sacrifice that much sacred time in the name of her Target budget this week. Although there was no way this stranger had any idea how much it meant to her, Bennett wrote to the man in her Facebook post:
You saw me as a human, not just the mom in front of you that was distracted and going way too slow. ... You didn't take no for an answer. You told me I deserved it when I started to tear up.
The mom of four added that she was committed to paying it forward. "You Sir, are the good in the world. You made my day, probably my week, and I WILL pay it forward. Thank you so much for your kind heart and words."
Bennett told People that the man was just one of those super nice people in line that you give a silent thanks for, especially when you have fussy kids in tow. She said, "We had been chatting in the line. I had told him I felt so bad he only had one item because I had a cart full of kids and groceries. But he didn’t mind.”
She said that she initially refused but then the man just handed the items and his card to the cashier and she didn't have much of a choice after that. Bennet, who has four kids ranging from 5 months old to 9 years old, told Romper that she told the man she was going to give him a "squishy baby hug." "I was babywearing my infant,” she explained.
Bennet said that she asked her 2-year-old what she thought of the man helping them out. Bennett told Romper that her toddler told her the whole thing "made her happy because [mommy] was happy." "Obviously more tears," Bennett told Romper. The good kind, of course.
Although she doesn't know who the man is, he likely got the gist of how grateful she was if only because of the squishy baby hug. Bennett's story is a good reminder to always be extra kind to the moms flying around Target with their kids. Everyone's story is a little more complicated than it looks sometimes.
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