Source: OWN / Huff Post / Lisa Capretto
Earlier this year, Ishmael Gilbert was working as a cashier at his local Target when an elderly woman entered his check-out line. As Gilbert rang up the women’s items, she pulled out a bunch of coins to pay for each item, separately, in change.
Standing behind the woman was a busy working mom named Sarah Bigler, who admits that her initial reaction was irritation. Realizing she was holding up the line, the older woman became flustered and embarrassed. But her cashier, Gilbert, immediately reassured her, dismissing the woman’s apologies and patiently helping her count her coins.
Bigler, who was with her two young children at the time, then experienced a shift in perspective as she watched Gilbert treat the elderly woman with compassion. She snapped a photo of Gilbert doing his job and posted it on Facebook, praising his kindness.
The story soon went viral, and Gilbert found himself at the center of the media’s attention. As he tellsin a follow-up interview, he truly didn’t think he had done anything special when he helped the elderly woman.
“I just treated her, really, like she was my grandma, to be honest,” Gilbert says. “She’s not the fastest, [but] I’m not going to huff and puff and make her feel even more frustrated. I just helped her out and actually seen a smile on her face. So, that was the best part about it.”
Once the initial attention subsided and the news crews dispersed, Gilbert went back to doing his job just as before ― albeit with a little more of a fan base. “People from other states started coming in, just to shake hands and take pictures,” he says.
One person who ended up coming into that Target was the manager of a local dialysis center. But she didn’t want a picture with Gilbert; she wanted to offer him a job.