Photo of Target cashier’s kindness goes viral on Facebook

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS -- A photo capturing an act of kindness by a Target employee has gone viral.

It happened at a store in Indianapolis during check-out when an elderly woman was paying for her purchase with coins. Instead of rushing her off, the cashier helped her count all her change.

Sarah Owen Bigler wrote:

"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. When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind.

As I was watching him, I saw that Eloise was too. She was standing next to the woman, watching the employee count the change. I realized I hadn't been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson."

"My Facebook page doesn't do it justice, had I known it was going to go viral I would have tried to give it more justice," Bigler told WXIN. But days later, the post has been shared thousands of times, proving the power of a photo.

On Tuesday, Bigler says she and her two young children went to the Target in Glendale. She says she was harried, and only popped into the store for a few things. Thinking she would be in-and-out quickly, she got in what she thought would be a short line.

"I realized that the woman in front of me was taking a quite awhile, and I realized she was paying with change," said Bigler. "I was at first frustrated and irritated thinking of my long day and this unnecessary timeline to get home, and get the kids bathed...and then I stopped for a moment."

Bigler said she noticed how the employee was interacting with the woman: coin by coin.

"I paused in that moment, and I'm so glad I did because I started seeing Ishmael and his treatment of this woman," said Bigler.

Counting quarters, nickels and dimes, Target employee Ishmael Gilbert helped this woman sort out her payment without judgement.

"She kept telling me she's sorry and I kept telling her 'you're fine,'" said Gilbert.

Bigler watched the interaction, but then saw her three year old daughter watching. Her frustration instantly lifted.

"I thought, this stranger, [Gilbert] is teaching something I could never teach her," said Bigler.

She snapped a photo, posted it to Facebook, and then the image began to ripple through social media over the next few days.

"I was at home on the couch asleep, and my girlfriend called me: 'Check Facebook, Check Facebook!'" said Gilbert, who says he immediately logged onto the social media platform where he started receiving messages from people all over the Country.  "It came from having at least 200 shares, and I've seen 500 shares and next thing you know, it's a thousand...thousand and thousands of shares. It's been amazing."

Bigler says she too has received kind messages from people as far as California and Mexico.

"It's crazy to think how quickly it spread, but it's good and it's making a positive impact," said Bigler.

While the fame is exciting, Gilbert says his treatment of that elderly woman is what he gives to all customers.

"I treat everyone with the same respect," said Gilbert. "And I get it back in return."

Target representatives say they typically recognize employees that have gone above and beyond. Gilbert will likely receive some kind of token of appreciation in the next week.

Here's the full post:

"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. 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. After placing my items, I look up to see that the person ahead of me was an elderly woman. She was paying for her items with change and wanted to purchase each separately. Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a 1 1/2 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.

 

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. When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind.

As I was watching him, I saw that Eloise was too. She was standing next to the woman, watching the employee count the change. I realized I hadn't been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson.

When the woman was finished, the employee began ringing up my items and thanked me for my patience. I then thanked him for teaching us patience and kindness by his treatment of that elderly woman. And although my timeline for target was askew, when he was finished I pushed my cart through the store trying to find the manager. I wanted her to know of the employee's, kindness and patience, and how much it meant to me. After tracking her down and sharing the story with her, we left Target with a cart full of consumable items, but what is more a heart full of gratitude for such an invaluable lesson.

If you are ever in the Glendale Target, give Ishmael a smile and a nod. The world could use more people like him."