The Internet has all kids of stories about Target, but most of them just talk about some handsome employees, like Alex from Target, obviously. Now here’s another event in Target that broke the Internet, but it was an odd man out as it was not about an attractive dude named Alex, but a hardworking young dad named Ishmael.
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Recently hired as a cashier, 19-year-old Ishmael Gilbert saw an elderly woman pull up to his till. Behind the old woman was 35-year-old mother Sarah Owen Bigler, who was shopping with her kids Archie and Eloise that day. It was Sarah who shared what transpired from the events that followed.
Sarah noticed that the old woman before her was paying for everything on her cart entirely in change, and she even wanted to pay for each one separately. Sarah, whose husband was sick that day and was hoping to get her items paid quickly so she could get home, was frustrated with the delay the elderly woman was causing.
But her mood changed when she saw Ishmael patiently counting the woman’s change and carefully taking each penny from her shaking hands. If she were in his position, Sarah said that she would have lost her cool, but the young man never rolled his eyes and showed no signs of being annoyed or inconvenienced at all.
Here’s a screenshot of Sarah’s Facebook post:
Looking at the kind man, Sarah soon realized that there’s nothing to rant about as she saw her daughter, who was standing beside the old woman, witnessing a rare act of kindness. “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,” she said.
When it was her turn, Sarah said that Ishmael thanked her for her patience, and Sarah thanked him for displaying an act of selflessness. Before she left, Sarah looked for the store’s manager to tell him that he’s keeping a great employee.
The following day, Sarah shared the heartwarming story online through a long and detailed Facebook status, which quickly went viral. In just five days, it was shared 22,000 times.
It was found out later on that Ishmael is a father to a one-year-old girl named Namya. In an interview with The Indianapolis Star, he revealed that he was shocked with the Internet fame he was suddenly getting. He said, “I was asleep at home, and everyone was texting me, ‘Check Facebook, check Facebook!'”
Ishmael said that the woman was getting “worked up,” seeing the long line of customers waiting for her to finish. That was why she was shaking while taking all her changes out. The young dad said he just did what he was supposed to do and that he’s just happy that his story made other people smile.
“It just feels good to be recognized for good work. 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.”
Amiee Smith Gilbert, Ishmael’s mother, shared through a different Facebook post about how proud she is of her son. “I felt very proud that this young father was being acknowledge for his outstanding customer service and positive energy in the workplace. I have always tried my best to raise my children to respect everyone no matter their race, age or gender,” she said.