One day a father and his six small children troop single file into the thrift store. The tops of the little ones’ heads are staggered at four-inch intervals of height, like stair steps. At first, we clerks exchange glances, doubting whether one lone man is sufficient to keep twelve little hands off the breakables, but we needn’t have worried. The children follow along behind him to the back of the store and wait patiently while he begins searching the clothing for their sizes.
Watching this scene, an elderly gentleman shopper hands our cashier a ten and tells her, “Whatever that father buys, use this to pay for it.” Then he leaves.
A few minutes later, when the family comes up to the cash register and Joan totals up the sale, she tells the father his purchase is not only covered but there is $1.50 left over. Dad looks at us in surprise and then at his children and says, “Come on, kids, let’s get another shirt for each of you.” They are all for that, and the orderly line returns to the clothing racks.
This is the point in the story where one begins to believe seriously in angels.
A woman customer, overhearing, whispers to our cashier that she would like to cover whatever else the father decides to purchase.
When the family returns to the checkout and finds that their additional clothing is also free, the father looks momentarily incredulous. But then a huge smile breaks over his face. “Kids,” he says to them, “we’re going for ice cream!”
When I tell people this story, many of them are as delighted with it as I am, but curiously, some people don’t like it at all. One opinion out there says: That father should have saved his money. Spending it on something as frivolous as ice cream is a waste of the gift he was given.Hmm. Okay, that’s logical.
But at the time it happened, that’s not how I saw it at all.
I saw an older gentleman who was touched by God to purchase the clothing this family needed. I saw a father who, at first, took this gift as a sign that God wanted him to buy more clothing for his children. But on the occasion of the second gift, I saw a father who was absolutely sure that God wanted the children to have ice cream, and it had taken two angels to get the message through.
—Excerpted from Thrift Store Graces by Jane Knuth
What an interesting story. It goes to show that angels sure to look over us and people may have different interpretations and different reactions. All we need to do is to ask for further Guidance so we will have more conviction with our decisions.
Bless you, Jane, for sharing this story. I “fell” upon it, just one day after being held captive by the stories in your “Thrift Store Saints” book, which I read cover to cover on my 2.5 hour train ride home last night. Angels everywhere. During this Advent I will try, mightily, to pray to those many angels, and ask they guide me…..since I can see myself in the believers you reference, as well as the ones who judge. Help me, Lord, to not judge others, since you so clearly are major lenient when it comes to me!
I really believe in ANGELS! They are God’s messenger of Love ❤️
Thank you Jane for this touching and inspiring story.
This reminds me of the woman annointing Jesus with expensive oil. Judas thinks it would be better sold and money given to the poor. Jesus sets him straight. She’ll be remembered always for her act of kindness. The poor you will always have with you.
How sad that in today’s world poverty is a crime to some people.
Wonderful story. Very uplifting.
Thanks God there are a lot of people with a great hart and with a blessing spirit that reach out to all people around them. Blessing they are for the joy of share and care about others; amen.
JANE, THANK YOU. AT FIRST I DIDN’T GET IT. THEN, IN PRAYER, I GOT IT! YESTERDAY, I FELT MY ANGELS IN THE IMPULSE TO GET FAMILY CHICKEN TO THANK PERSON IN STORE AT FESTIVAL MALL IN MANILA. HONEST TO GOD, I FELT HIS PRESENCE THROUGH THESE ANGELS. THANK YOU JANE FOR OPENING MY EYES THROUGH YOUR FUN STORY.
Having grown up in an impoverished home may I offer a possible explanation for the negative reactions to the ice cream? There are folks out there who believe the wretched poor should remain wretched, never enjoying any treats or life in general. Throw them a little but don’t spoil them. No matter how wealthy such people are they are truly poor beyond belief. Then there are others who are so afraid of material poverty they place all goods on a pedestal as though maintaining a grip on them is the only focus in life. My uncle once left a little money for my mother and I to have an ice cream cone on the weekend when a venue opened near our home. My mother was publicly shamed by a church lady who saw us sitting on a bench enjoying our treat. 60 years on I still recall the event clearly. May we all be moved by the Holy Spirit to be generous in giving freely (no strings attached) of our time, talent and treasure and not to judge others in how they receive our gifts.
What a wonderful story. We had six children and treats were special.
I loved your story.
(Father of six now grown children)
Have to say that I agree with your interpretation.What an uplifting story and a lesson to us all. Thank you.
Love It.. Thank you. Great Story! A.M.D.G.
To paraphrase Pope Francis——Who are we to judge?
A lovely, lovely story! Thank you for it. (I had 5 children in just over 5 years)
Great story. I agree with dad. Glad thy went for ice cream. They were so good all the time. God bless them all!
Sitting here blubbering with joy. What a tender, inspiring story. God is present everywhere. Thank you and God bless.