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Paying it forward: Stranger picks up $93 tab for Maumee woman's groceries

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Jessica Wagner with her kids, Noah and Josephine Jessica Wagner with her kids, Noah and Josephine
MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) -

On Aug. 4, the first day Toledo's water was declared safe again, a major act of kindness was seen in a Maumee Kroger store.

A selfless act from a stranger spared one mom a big hassle and a lot of money.

Jessica Wagner had her young children with her in line at register nine at Kroger when she realized her wallet was at home.

"I sort of panicked," Wagner said. "I've never done that before."

She turned to the cashier, Emily Gratcl, embarrassed.

"[I said,] ‘I'm sorry. I live about 10 minutes down the road. I'm going to have to run home,'" Wagner recalled.

The store was ready to hold her groceries, but another customer decided to "Pay it Forward."

"The lady behind her just inched forward and swiped her card," Gratcl said. "And she was like, ‘It's OK. It's on me. I got this.'"

"And I'm like, ‘No, no. I can't let you do that,'" Wagner said.

The kind stranger not only saved Wagner the trouble of running home, she also saved her a significant amount of money. Her total for groceries was $93.

"I got tears in my eyes. I started crying," Wagner said. "I was so overwhelmed that somebody would just do something like that, without asking anything back."

"It was an emotional fest after that, and we were just all in tears," Gratcl said. "Thank God for people like that!"

Even the Kroger employee bagging the groceries was crying, according to Wagner and Gratcl.

Wagner says she tried to get the stranger's name and address to pay her back, but the woman would only accept a hug as thanks. She just wanted Wagner to take her groceries home and enjoy time with her children.

"That's a lot!" Wagner said. "I mean, imagine someone, like I said, like a stranger, just handing you $100. Like, what? That doesn't happen!"

Wagner says she plans to pay it forward to someone else in need, and so does Gratcl. They hope others are inspired to do the same.

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