by Sophia Greenblatt
In February, 2019 Payless Shoes declared bankruptcy and the plan was to close most of the company’s stores by June, 2019. In June, Susan Cook and Patrick Riordan, a couple from New Jersey, went shopping and they stumbled on a Payless store that was still open. A sign on the windows of the store declared: “Everything $3.” As the couple paid for their purchases, the cashier told the couple that it would be the store’s last day. Riordan asked the cashier what it would cost to buy all the remaining merchandise in the store. The couple was told that every item would be $1 if they bought out the whole store. The price per item was very inexpensive, as some of the merchandise had an original retail price of up to $60. The couple spent $247 for all of the merchandise on sale, while the estimated original retail price for their purchases was $5,000. It took two cars to transport the eleven bags of shoes they had just purchased back to their home
The couple decided to donate all they had bought to a shelter and rehabilitation center called Womanspace. Womanspace helps families who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Riordan said that Womanspace is “a really wonderful organization” and was very glad to have had the opportunity to help the families there. Womanspace was very grateful for the donation and expressed their gratitude on Facebook where they wrote, “It is generosity like that which allows us to provide for the hundreds of families that reside in our programs.” Cook and Riordan hope that their act of kindness will inspire people to help others. Cook said, “You don’t have to spend $1,000. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little human compassion and consideration for somebody else.”
Carrie Jernigan, a mother of three, also bought out an entire Payless store. When Jernigan was shopping with her daughter, her daughter noticed a pair of shoes she wanted to buy for a school friend whose shoes were too small. Jernigan did not know what size to buy for her daughter’s friend, so she jokingly asked a store clerk how much it would be to buy everything in the store. Jernigan ultimately walked out of the Payless store with 1,500 pairs of shoes of wide-ranging sizes. Jernigan’s community held a back-to-school event where they donated these shoes along with other items to the children of the community.
Let us be inspired by the kindness of Cook, Riordan, and Jernigan and recognize the importance of giving back to our community.