It was just an ordinary day for Nicole Heintz when she encountered an unexpected opportunity to do something extraordinary. While on her way to work, Nicole stopped for gas and noticed a middle-aged man crying while looking at one of the gas pumps.
It was a cold morning in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and she saw the man was only wearing worn-out socks and an old pair of flip flops. In the car sat his wife covering her face in her hands, and two teenage girls trying to stay warm under one blanket.
Nicole could tell she was looking at a broken man.
“So I was just on my way to work and I had to stop for gas so I allowed myself some extra time to get to work. When I pulled up to the pump I shut my car off and saw this middle aged man crying looking at the gas pump. I began to wonder what happened with this man and as I got out of my car and looked at him my heart felt like it stopped.
In Apple Valley, Minnesota it is 10 degrees and freezing cold with the wind. This man was wearing flip flops with socks covered in holes. I look at his car and see his wife in the front seat covering her face in her hands and the two teenage girls both cuddling under a blanket in the back seat.”
Nicole knew she had to do something to help.
“I went up to the man and said ‘sir is something the matter?’ He looked at me and I could tell he was on the verge of giving up because he didn’t even try to conceal his tears when he said ‘I can’t even provide for my family.’
Without even thinking I put my card in his machine and told him Jesus Christ the Son of God died to provide for you. Fill up. Something, something came alive in him. He was in shock and it was like he forgot how to pump gas.
Without thinking twice, Nicole put her card in the man’s machine, so he could fill up his gas tank.
The man’s wife stepped out of the car to find out was happening, and she started to cry after hearing what Nicole had done. Nicole, seeing the woman’s dirty and torn clothes, asked her to come with her to the car.
The airport lost some of my luggage on my way to Minnesota from California and I had to clean out my closet to find stuff to wear and get rid of a lot of stuff all of that stuff that I had yet to give away was sitting in the back seat of the car and in the trunk. I opened up my car and told the lady to take what she wanted.”
Nicole invited the wife and her daughters to take clothes from the back of her car.
“A moment later she and her two girls were digging through those clothes layering my sweatshirts and shirts and sweatpants over the worn out clothes they had been wearing.
The kindness didn’t end there
All of this attracted the attention of strangers at the gas station. And Nicole’s kindness did not go in vain, as others did what they could to help, too. One man gave the family a gift card while another offered his jacket.
Soon the father had finished pumping the gas and came over. This attracted a little crowd at the gas station. Some older man gave the family a gift card and another middle-aged man gave away his jacket to the father. Never in my life did I think I would see this kind of thing happen at a gas station with a handful of complete strangers.
But it gives me hope. That the love of God can be so contagious. That we are not alone in being the change we want to see in the world. That God’s love is greater than anything and we get to be a part of that love changing lives. And HE always provides!”
What a blessing you were to that family, Nicole!
Nicole’s selfless act and willingness to help without thinking twice inspired others to do the same. We can definitely say kindness is contagious, and once again, our faith in humanity has been restored.
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