Shelia Spencer had an unlucky day in October 2018. After visiting a grocery store in Birmingham, Alabama, in fact, she left both her cell phone and her wallet with $270 in cash in her shopping cart. But what happened next surprised her so much that she shared her story online – and it quickly went viral.
In everyday life, Spencer is a teacher at Birmingham City Schools. And when she isn’t on the job, she – like most people – makes plenty of trips to her local grocery store. Piggly Wiggly manager Jason Armstrong even told Yahoo Lifestyle that Spencer comes in every day.
But one of Spencer’s daily trips to Piggly Wiggly now stands out from all the rest. On this particular excursion, you see, the resident of Birmingham, Alabama, placed her iPhone and wallet inside her cart. Spencer then duly did her shopping and later wheeled the cart back into the port outside the store – leaving her belongings still inside.
“After going home, I realized at approximately 9:30 p.m. I couldn’t find my phone,” Spencer later wrote on Facebook. “I started to look for my wristlet that carried my money, but I couldn’t find that either.”
Obviously, both of Spencer’s items are valuable, but her wallet had been particularly full of cash that day. Not only had she had $70 of her own money inside, but she’d also been carrying $200 for someone else at the time too.
It therefore quickly dawned on Spencer where her belongings were. “Tracing my steps, I realized the only place I had been was Piggly Wiggly,” she wrote in her Facebook post. So the teacher called the store, hoping that staff had found her things.
“True enough, my wristlet and phone were there,” Spencer continued. “What is even more astonishing is, I had all my money in the wristlet and my iPhone.” Spencer was so surprised that she just had to ask the manager who had handed over the valuable items.
And Spencer was stunned to find out who had been behind the good deed. Enter Antoine Starr, who is a staffer at the Piggly Wiggly store. The 17-year-old Central Park Christian student, also known as Anthony, had been working at the store for ten months.
And, according to Jason Armstrong, the teenager is a great addition to the team. “[Starr’s] a really good guy – a good kid with a great heart,” Armstrong told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Spencer naturally wanted to thank Starr for his honesty and kindness. So she first gave him a gift of $100. She wrote on Facebook that she had also called his mother “to tell her what a great job she was doing with her son.” His mother apparently greatly appreciated it too. “[She] cried tears of joy,” according to the schoolteacher.
But that seemingly wasn’t enough for Spencer; she wanted to share Starr’s good deed. She later wrote on Facebook, “We hear very little about kids when they do something positive, it’s always lots of talk about the bad things that happen.”
Then Spencer asked readers for a simple favor. “Let’s make this post go viral, to show other young men and ladies that there is honor in doing the right thing,” she wrote. And, with that, Facebook users did just as she asked.
At the time of writing, in fact, Spencer’s post has received nearly 2,000 shares and almost 750 comments. Many praised Starr’s efforts just as Spencer had done. “You, young man, are a shining example for others,” wrote one user.
“[Starr] is a prime example [that] there [are] still some great young men in this world. I applaud him and his parents for instill[ing] great values in him,” added one user. Another told Starr that “the good you do for others will come back to you.”
And Starr actually was repaid in kind for his actions. For one thing, the Piggly Wiggly store where he works promised him a reward. His manager told Yahoo Lifestyle, “We’ll take care of him.”
Spencer had her hand in rewarding Starr beyond the $100 she gave him too. She also went to meet his family. “Now I see why he is such an honorable kid. His grandmother is so sweet. His mama is amazing. They are raising remarkable kids,” Spencer shared on Facebook.
Spencer reiterated that point the next day when she issued a call to action to those touched by Starr’s good deed. “Getting to know this young man and his wonderful family, you can see immediately where his ethics and morals come from,” her Facebook post began.
Teacher Spencer continued, “Antoine will be going to college next year, and I would really like to do something very special to help him.” She said that helping the teenager transition to college would serve as an example to others his age.
“We’ve got to let him and all the other young men and women know that God always [rewards] honesty, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Spencer wrote. She then suggested that readers chip into Starr’s college fund.
“So many of you have been generous enough to pay it forward, so if you would like to help him start his college life off, that would be [very much] appreciated,” Spencer concluded. That same day, she shared a link to a GoFundMe page for Starr.
For Starr, though, his actions hadn’t gone above and beyond. He told WBRC that he simply did what he’d want someone to do for him in the same situation. His manager Armstrong said, “It’s not hard. It’s all heart. It’s what you have in your heart.”