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Helpful Smiles MEDIA VERSION »

The Giving Tree

Peoria, Illinois
4:07PM    December 19, 2017    Janelle
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MEDIA VERSION » Helpful Smiles

The Giving Tree

The day after Thanksgiving, a special exchange happened at the Grand Prairie Hy-Vee in Peoria, Illinois. Floral Manager Allison Carmack recognized that a customer could use a helpful smile and gift to brighten her Christmas season.

The next day, the customer wrote to Eric Gharst, store director:

Dear manager of Hy-Vee in Peoria, Illinois on Orange Prairie Road,

On November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, I shopped at your store. After checking out, I was going by floral department and saw these real, small Christmas trees with bulbs and battery-operated lights.  I had been asked [to attend] Thanksgiving dinner with a friend of mine and thought this would be a good thank you gift.  I took it over to the desk and asked if I checked this out here or did I have to go back through line. Very politely, she said, “No, ma’am, I can help you here.” We were discussing how cute they were and [how the tree] was going to make a nice thank you when I said I probably should buy one for myself, but that my husband had passed this year. With that, I watered up and told her I wasn’t much into Christmas this year. She said she was sorry for my loss, and I said thank you and with fighting back tears I left.

When I got to my car and was putting the purchases, I heard this sweet voice say, “Ma’am, ma’am!” I turned to see her coming to me with another tree in her hand. She said she bought it for me because I needed to do Christmas and we hugged each other and cried. Needless to say she was an angel from God sent to me. She is a blessing for your store also. You can bet if I ever need any floral item I will come back to your store for sure.  She is a great asset to you and I just felt that I needed to tell you about her!!  I have sent her a card addressed to your store in care of her at floral department.  I think her name was Allison. May she and your store be blessed as she has blessed me.

Merry Christmas,

Paulette L.


Carmack said she made the decision to brighten Paulette’s day because she could tell she was hurting.

“When she turned to leave with tears in her eyes, she said to me, ‘Have a blessed day.’ She walked out the door and I stood there thinking about what she said,” Carmack said. “I couldn’t let her leave without a tree of her own. I knew she needed the blessing that day. I ran out the door and gave her the tree and a big hug. I just did what I knew I needed to do. Bonus for me – I met an amazing person and friend that day!”