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Firefighters thank anonymous shopper behind viral act of kindness

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — The firefighters of Station 392 in Fishers didn’t pursue public service for recognition; neither did the good Samaritan who paid for their groceries Friday morning when they were called to an emergency mid-shopping trip.

The kind-hearted stranger left a note on the receipt — “Thank you for your service” — but chose to stay anonymous.

The groceries in the firefighters’ shopping cart included lunch and dinner supplies for approximately eight people, Lt. Duane Reddick said.

He and two other firefighters were in line at the Kroger supermarket on Olio Road, preparing to check out, when duty called. 

They’re used to “dropping everything” for EMS runs during meals, showers, parties and even school field trips at the firehouse, Reddick told News 8.

Their shopping trip could wait; the crew asked a store associate to put their groceries in a cooler and rushed out the door.

“We came back and we went to go get back in line,” Reddick said. “[The store associate] was like, ‘No, you don’t have to worry about that. [The groceries] are already paid for.”

It was the first time in his nearly 20 years of service that a community member had thanked him by picking up his supermarket tab.

“We don’t always expect a ‘thank you,’” Reddick said. “We don’t ask for it. We just do it. But it was very heartwarming that somebody saw us leave and [paid for our groceries].”

The Fishers Fire Department expressed their gratitude on Facebook in hopes of reaching the unidentified shopper. 

“The crew hopes that person sees this post and understands just how much their kindness is appreciated,” fire officials wrote. 

The post generated more than 4,000 “likes” in less than 12 hours.

“Thanks to the kind person that did this,” Raylene Schindler Carr commented under the post. “My son is at [Station] 392 and working today!!”

Dozens of commenters said they were touched by the gesture and proud of the Fishers community’s dedication to supporting public servants.

“We admire the generous customer who paid for the firefighters’ groceries,” Eric Halvorson, a spokesperson for Kroger, said in an emailed statement to News 8. “We are also gratified by the thoughtful service of the Kroger associates who held the groceries until the firefighters could return… We are honored to have played a role in this gesture of support for their bravery and community spirit.”

Capt. John Mehling, a spokesperson for the fire department, said he hoped the viral story would inspire more acts of kindness.

“You don’t have to do this only for firefighters or police officers,” Mehling said. “Make it a part of your daily event. Just do something a little extra for whoever, whether it’s opening a door, making sure you say ‘thank you’ or bringing your kids up to be a positive part of that community. Those things are really important. I think [what happened at Kroger] is just one example of what we can do for each other.”

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