ANNAVILLE, Texas — Last week, Maria Balboa was working, bagging groceries at the H-E-B in Annaville, when a woman with two children came through her register to ring up groceries. When the woman went to pay, she only had $19 on her SNAP card.
“She was going to put back the groceries instead of a couple of items that she needed for dinner that night,” Balboa said. “I immediately heard a voice in my head that said, ‘pay for the groceries.'”
The total was $137. Balboa is a student, and said she thought twice, because $137 was a lot for her to pay at that time.
“In that moment, I really felt God telling me to pay for the groceries. I felt a chill in my fingertips, and I didn’t know what it was in the moment,” she said. “After talking about it with one of my good friends, she told me, ‘yeah, that was God.'”
On Friday, Balboa’s manager, Mark Moeller, called her into his office.
The woman whose groceries were paid for wrote a survey for the location. She explained that the two children were her grandchildren, and she was taking care of them. She said money was tight, and expressed how much it meant to her that Balboa paid for her groceries.
“Today she made me cry happy tears,“ the woman wrote in the survey. “Thank you from the heart for you [sic] kindness.”
“She was very grateful that I paid for her, and I felt really good,” Balboa said.
Moeller praised Balboa, who has only been working at the H-E-B for about two months.
“It really talks a lot about her, and reaching out, and taking care of someone in need,” he said. “She’s an example of H-E-B, and how our partners go out and support the community.”
Moeller reimbursed Balboa the money she paid for the groceries, and he and the other managers gave her a goodie basket to show their appreciation to her.
“It’s pretty special when you consider someone who is in school and just trying to make ends meet, we were very proud of her,” Moeller said.
Balboa said she hopes her situation will inspire others to do something nice for someone else, even if it’s something small.
“Be kind, because you never know what someone else is going through, and you could be the difference in their life that,” she said.