A modest Christmastime gesture of kindness that a Georgia woman made to a man who'd forgotten his wallet has come full circle to reward her in a big way.
A couple of weeks before Christmas, Smyrna resident Tracy Warshal, 39, noticed the man behind her in line at an Aldi supermarket was shuffling around looking for his wallet, she told ABC News. Realizing he'd forgotten it, Warshal offered to pay for his $7 grocery bill.
"It would have been more of a headache for him to go out and find his wallet," Warshal said.
Warshal called the act of kindness "instinctual" and said "anybody would have done it." When the man asked for her name, she gave him her first name only. Then she told him "Merry Christmas" and walked out of the store, she recalled.
A few weeks into January, Warshal found out the man was looking for her when two representatives for The Piedmont Foundation visited her at work to inform her that he would like to make a $10,000 donation in her name.
Warshal, who works as a scheduling coordinator for the Piedmont Cancer Institute, an affiliate of Piedmont Healthcare, just happened to be wearing a T-shirt with "Piedmont" emblazoned on it the day she stopped at Aldi on her way home from work. That, and her first name, were the only thing the man had to go on, she said.
The man then contacted the Piedmont Healthcare's Vice President of Philanthropy Mendal Bouknight to help track Warshal down and "thank her" for her gesture, Bouknight said in a statement.
“Tracy is an angel and proof that kindness and compassion are always inside you,” Bouknight said.
Warshal hasn't interacted with the donor since the day she paid for his groceries, she said. He wished to remain anonymous, the foundation told her.
"I completely respect the fact that he would like to remain anonymous," Warshal said. "Of course, I would like to give him a hug and say thank you."
The funds will go toward the Dana G. Smith Cancer Assistance Endowment, Piedmont Healthcare Public Relations Manager Amanda Bartlett told ABC News. The man has been a major donor to the Piedmont Foundation in the past, she said.
Local media caught wind of Warshal's story after Piedmont Healthcare asked her permission to share it on their Facebook page.
Though Warshal said she's "overwhelmed" by the attention her story has gotten, she said she hopes it serves as a "reminder to people that really the little things are what matters the most."
"I’m just excited that one small little gesture made a huge difference and impact on a lot of people," Warshal said. "I hope it makes people think twice about doing something small to somebody."
"Even a smile or compliment goes a long way these days," she added.