I Saw the Moment a Mom Realized She Couldn't Afford Candles on Her Boy's Birthday

Bianca Garibay
Bianca Garibay

This morning, I was at H-E-B, a supermarket here in Texas. I felt really bad for this young mom.

She had a baby and a little boy with her, and she was buying a SLICE of a birthday cake with a pack of candles. The total came up as $5.57. She started looking around and pulled out 2 dollars, and then started counting out change.

  • I heard her say aloud, "I just have to make sure I will still have $2 or so for gas."

    Her little boy replied, "It’s okay, mom. I don’t need a birthday cake. We just need gas so I can get to school." I could tell the mom felt completely defeated. She put back the candles. Everyone in line clearly heard and saw what was going on, but no one said anything.

    I thought of my own mom. In the past, I’m positive that my mom struggled, but she never let it show. Even as a struggling mom at 16 years old, she shielded my brother and I from this. She is my inspiration for kindness.

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  • So, I grabbed the candles, a gift card for Target, and grabbed another gift card for gas.

    I walked outside and told her, "Ma’am, you dropped something."

    She says, "No, that’s not mine. I wish it was, but it’s not."

    I told her, "Yes, it’s yours. It’s yours because I got it for you. I want you to take this Target gift card and get your son a birthday present. I want you to take this gift card and put gas in your car. Fill the whole tank. I want you to take these candles. And when your son is about to blow them out, I want you to make a wish, too."

    I have never seen someone so grateful before in my life. That’s what’s wrong with the world today. Everyone has the "not my problem, not my business" mindset. Slowly, along the way, we have forgotten it takes a village to raise a child.

  • After the exchange, I gave the woman my number and told her to let me know if she ever needs anything.

    I received this text later in the day, which made me so happy.

    After I posted about the situation on Facebook, a lot of people replied saying they would like to help her this Christmas season. I’m planning to coordinate something for her, perhaps a P.O. box where everyone can send in items for little Jordan and his family.

  • Kindness to me is simply about putting others before yourself.

    Kindness is making the smallest gestures to make the biggest impact on someone’s life. Kindness is saying, "I’m here for you, even if you feel alone." Kindness is simply smiling at someone and letting them know you see them, even in this hectic world. It’s simply acknowledging your neighbor and letting them know you’re there.


    This post was written by Bianca Garibay and republished with permission. You can read more of her writing on Facebook and Instagram.