When Ludacris was buying groceries, an error resulted in his items getting mixed up with those of the woman behind him. So the rapper offered to pay for her entire bill. But he had no idea just what that act of kindness would mean to Therra Jaramillo.
Jaramillo was shopping at Whole Foods in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 31, 2018. After picking up what she needed, including food for her pet dogs, she headed to the checkout. But she didn’t realize that she hadn’t separated her items correctly.
“While in line, I was so tired and the food for my pets kind of ended up in with the stuff of the guy ahead of me on the conveyor belt,” Jaramillo explained on Facebook later that day. When she spotted what was happening, she informed the cashier that the pet food belonged to her. But the other customer stopped her.
“The guy in front of me said, ‘I might as well get it,’” she revealed. “He wanted to buy food for my pets.” The cashier continued to scan the food – but Jaramillo panicked when she saw how rapidly the bill was growing.
It dawned on Jaramillo that the cost of the goods she had selected easily exceeded the $250 on the gift card she had brought with her to pay. However, it turned out that it didn’t matter. “He stopped me, ‘I said I got this,’ he said,” she recalled. “‘All of this’, he told me. All of my groceries.”
At first, Jaramillo was astonished by the offer. Then, she became so touched by the generosity of the stranger that she was moved to shed tears. He told her that his name was Chris, and they began a conversation.
“We shook hands. Then I hugged him, shedding tears on the tattoo on his shoulder,” she wrote on Facebook. “I thanked him but I was so stunned that even as we made small talk (he asked me about my four dogs) I tripped over my words, all the while thinking, ‘I’m talking to an angel. Should I tell him? Should I tell him he’s an angel?’”
Jaramillo asked the “handsome stranger” who he was. But he insisted he was “just a guy.” He paid for the entire $375 bill and told her that the staff would help her transport it all to her car, asking if she needed any assistance.
She admitted that she couldn’t thank him enough. “‘You’re sweet,’ he said softly, looking at me with real kindness in his eyes, ‘You’re nice to rescue dogs,’” Jaramillo remembered. “‘I’m lucky,’ I said, ‘You, my friend, are sweet. You’re special. I want to be like you.’ We hugged again.”
After he left, the cashier asked Jaramillo if she knew who that was. She told her that it was Ludacris who had just purchased her groceries. Jaramillo hadn’t realized that she had been talking to a celebrity – and the revelation only made the experience even more moving.
“This guy is awesome run amok. You know why? He was just doing something kind for a disheveled, harried stranger,” she wrote on Facebook. “Showing the love in his soul. Shining a light in the world. But there’s something else.”
Jaramillo explained that Ludacris had no idea just how much his compassion meant to her. She usually could not afford to shop at Whole Foods but had been given the gift card by a friend. It had been a time of financial hardship and she was struggling to make ends meet, having to ration gas and feed both herself and her pets nothing but rice.
Jaramillo originally hails from Molesworth, Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom. She works as a contributing writer for the Marietta Daily Journal newspaper. And she admitted that things were “worse than bad” after she failed to receive a paycheck and then had to spend $2,000 on a new water heater.
The writer had to take care of herself and her brother, who is disabled. Jaramillo also had four dogs, two cats, a chicken and the responsibility of maintaining her property to worry about. And she revealed that she was struggling after losing her mother during Hurricane Katrina and her husband to illness.
“What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that my husband died of brain cancer and climbing out of that hole, emotionally, physically and financially, has devastated me for most of four years,” Jaramillo wrote. “I won’t lie. I’ve struggled in ways I didn’t know a human could struggle and still survive.”
She continued, “What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that his quiet kindness and generous gesture came at a moment when my candle was out. He used his personal light to fire up my own. Isn’t that what we should be doing for each other?”
That same afternoon, Jaramillo shared her experience on Facebook. And people were stirred by the heartwarming story. “This made my cry and then smile. Hang in there and let us know how you are,” Deborah Green commented. Dorothy Blum agreed, “Restores your faith in humanity. What a wonderful story. Thank you [for] sharing, Therra, and thank you Ludacris for rescuing our friend.”
Others revealed that Jaramillo’s tale inspired them to support Ludacris’s music. And Kim Bowe added, “Always knew he was cool, have been a fan for years, now I know he’s amazing. Glad you were on the receiving end of some joy.”
The rapper, real name Christopher Bridges, has not commented on Jaramillo’s story. But his charitable nature is a matter of record. The 41-year-old, who lives in Atlanta and is known for his work on the Fast and Furious movies as well as for his music, started the Ludacris Foundation in 2001 to help young people through education.
Jaramillo vowed to “pay it forward” and encouraged others to emulate Ludacris’s actions. “We can, every one of us, do something for others,” she wrote. “You never know a stranger’s full story when you reach out a hand and yank them into a better place. Thank you, Chris. God bless you.”