KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Knightdale restaurant's staffers used their day off Monday by surprising shoppers at a Food Lion and purchasing their groceries.
A manager at A'Nets Katch relayed a message to employees from Annette Brown, one of the owner's, to meet at the supermarket's parking lot at 5 p.m.
"It was only then that we explained them how this exercise was going to go and what the purpose was behind it," said Annette Brown, who owns A'Nets Katch with her husband.
One by one, restaurant employees walked around the supermarket and made a connection with a shopper. They then grabbed an item for themselves and waited behind that shopper in the check-out line. When it came time for the shopper to pay, the employee stepped up with a company credit card and took care of the bill.
"Their mind was just making sure that they were taking care of their family, and for us to just slide in and say 'I got this,' Surprise. Tears, it was amazing," said Amber Spencer, a manager with A'nets Katch.
Spencer assisted a family that was devastated during Hurricane Florence and had just moved to the area. Employees said learning about the shopper's personal stories was a highlight of the experience.
"They were just so happy and had smiles on their faces and they had smiles on their faces, just thanking us," Devin Daniels, an employee, said.
In total, Brown estimated they assisted about a dozen families, spending $2,100 in the process.
While the idea coincided with the holiday season, Brown is hopeful that it expands far past it.
"Spread compassion, especially around Thanksgiving. Not only Thanksgiving and Christmas and stuff like that, but we need more compassion, we need more big hearts," Brown said. "The simplest things; help somebody load groceries, buy them a cup of coffee."
Brown said they spent about two hours at Food Lion, with some employees going so far as to help carry the groceries to the shopper's cars after they paid for them.
"A lot of people that want to give, they don't have the means to give," Brown said.
As an added bonus to employees, Brown provided a gift certificate for the amount they helped donate to others.
Paying it forward: Knightdale restaurant picks up tab for grocery shoppers
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