When Montz resident Susie Bourgeois went shopping at Destrehan’s Winn-Dixie last week, she didn’t expect to leave in tears.
“It was hard for me to hide my emotions,” she said. “The sweet cashier said, ‘Please don’t cry, you are going to make me cry too.’”
As Bourgeois left the store, another emotional customer was also leaving.
“She just looked at me in shock and said, ‘My bill was just paid,’ and I said, ‘Mine too,” and we both just stood there for a second in amazement,” Bourgeois said. “I then went to my car and cried like a baby … happy tears of course.”
Media mogul Tyler Perry, a New Orleans native, paid for the groceries of customers at 29 Winn-Dixie stores across Louisiana last week. He also footed the bill at 44 Kroger stores in Atlanta.
“I wanted to do something that got out to people immediately,” Perry told The Hollywood Reporter. “So I reached out to Kroger and I reached out to Winn-Dixie because I remember my mother going to shop at Winn-Dixie every Saturday when I was a kid.”
Bourgeois said as she was entering the store and grabbing a basket outside, a gentleman approached her and handed her a slip of paper that read “random act of kindness.”
“He told me to bring it to the register when I was ready to check out,” she said. “I honestly thought that I was going to receive a cookie from the bakery upon check out or something of that nature … it wasn’t until I went to put my debit card in prematurely that the cashier asked me to remove it and told me that the bill was taken care of … I had to ask her to repeat herself because I just couldn’t believe it.”
Bourgeois left the store not knowing who the generosity was courtesy of.
“My daughter told me she thought she may know who the generous donor was,” Bourgeois said. “Several posts on Facebook conﬁrmed that Mr. Perry was indeed the kind soul who did this for me and so many others.”
Not only did Perry help Bourgeois and other shoppers, she said, but he also lifted the spirits of everyone reading the stories of what he did.
“My Facebook post has comment after comment ﬁlled with hope, love and joy,” Bourgeois said. “I think the people in our community needed something positive and this was it … I cannot believe how incredibly blessed I am.”
Destrehan resident Lisa Young was also a recipient of Tyler’s generosity. When she entered Winn Dixie, she was greeted by the store manager who gave her a disinfectant wipe and a paper voucher.
“My initial reaction was how nice to be greeted as such, and I was reminded of the sacrifice these grocery employees make each day to serve their community,” Young said, adding after she finished her shopping she was prompted by the cashier to present the voucher and learned her groceries were free.
“I was overwhelmed with gratitude,” Young said. “In the middle of this difficult time, I am seeing daily there is so much compassion from our fellow man … the feeling I keep having is one of reassurance, that every little thing is going to be alright.”
Richard Abda, a St. Rose resident, also had his groceries paid for.
“I was so surprised and grateful and thankful for a wonderful act of kindness during this crisis that we’re all dealing with the best we can,” Abda said. “It’s so nice that such wonderful people step up when we all need support.”
Bourgeois said she hopes everyone who received the blessing of free groceries decides to pay it forward.
“Just imagine if everyone that was shown generosity by Mr. Perry pays it forward and those that they bless pay it forward and so on,” she said. “So much goodness can come from one person’s random act of kindness … I would like to thank Mr. Perry from the bottom of my heart … may God bless him for all he has done.”
Bourgeois said she would also like to thank Winn-Dixie for their part in the blessing.
“They made shopping during a time such as this as pleasant as possible,” she said. “The same gentleman who handed me the paper also cleaned my cart handle, and the cashier was so polite and genuinely happy for me … God is good.”