Oklahoma is a different kind of state. It is one of the few where Christian faith pretty much trumps all. The people are for the most part good and kind here. So, I’m not altogether surprised by this. In Newcastle, Oklahoma, late Friday night, it was the usual herd of customers waiting to get through the checkout line. They were grumbling and fidgeting as they stood their with their groceries. Patience was in short supply and people were complaining about a lady at the front of the line at one register.
The woman was frazzled and was trying to keep three hyperactive foster kids in line while she was unloading her groceries onto the conveyor belt. We’ve all been there and know what that feels like. She looked tired. Cashier Nicholas Tate said: “I asked her if it had been one of those days. She said it had been.” I bet. But her day was about to take a decidedly different turn.
The mother told Tate that she was a foster parent. She had just recently signed up for a federal program that helps low-income families – WIC. “She apologized beforehand because she was using WIC and had never used it before,” Tate said. Nicholas is a 20 year-old Austin Bible Institute student and the woman’s plight touched his soul deeply.
He smiled at the woman and told her it was no problem at all. But that turned out to not be the case. Unfortunately, several of the items would not process, including baby formula that the woman desperately needed. Nate swiped the card several times and it would not work. He called a manager over to help and it was at that moment that Tate heard a voice. “I felt like God was calling for me to pay for her bill,” he said. “It was without a doubt – God was saying, ‘Pay for this.’” Some may mock that, but many Christians have had similar callings.
In all the chaos, Nicholas knew it was the right thing to do and that’s exactly what he did. He pulled out his own credit card and bought the $60 worth of groceries for the woman. The foster mom broke into tears of gratitude and eventually went on her way. That was a very Christian thing to do. Nicholas is hoping to become a missionary to Honduras… I’d say this is an excellent start.
“When God tells me to do something, I do it,” he said. “God told me, ‘I put you in this place at the right time and I knew you were ready for this – to pay for this. So without hesitation, I pulled my card out and swiped it.”
Several days later, Nicholas was approached by a customer. They showed him a Facebook post and asked if he was the cashier mentioned in the posting. Sure enough, he was. The foster mother was so overcome with emotion and gratitude that she had forgotten in the midst of all of it to thank Nicholas for his kindness. She went to Facebook to thank him and she hoped that somehow she would find out his name by doing so. Social media brought them back together.
“It was pretty cool getting to talk to her,” he said. Nicholas was surprised that so many people knew of his good deed. I guess he was a bit embarrassed by it all. “I was just trying to bless someone and make their day and it turned into something incredible,” he said.
Then the mainstream media took notice and television stations started making promises to Nicholas that he would be famous. But that’s not what he wanted for himself and it’s not what this story is all about. “It’s not what I did,” Nicholas told me. “It’s what God did through something so small. He took something so small and He glorified his name with it.”
This is the sign of a true Christian. Nicholas gave credit to God where it belonged. He was just doing the work of the Lord and was looking to make God famous, not himself. One faithful Walmart cashier did a good deed for a beleaguered foster mom and it went viral. It’s a sad statement that such deeds are so rare anymore that they gain such attention. But Nicholas Tate is doing God’s work.