A Generous Woman

by Sheila Sullivan
Colorado, USA

A Generous Woman

Twelve years ago, I got divorced. My job paid about six dollars an hour. I had twin 13-year-old daughters and a 15-year-old son. My mother let me use her home while she moved into an apartment. My mortgage payment took over half my paycheck. Needless to say, money was very tight.

That winter, one of my daughters was very ill, and I took her to the doctor. We got a prescription, but I had no money to pay for it. Before leaving on a business trip, my ex-husband left $20 for the medicine.

My daughter and I went to the grocery store pharmacy, and I gave the prescription to the pharmacist. I had my car keys and the $20 bill in my hand. After giving the pharmacist the prescription, my daughter and I walked 20 feet to the greeting cards to pass the time.

When we walked back to get the medication, the $20 bill was gone. We re-traced our steps but found no money. We went through all our pockets. Nothing.

I asked the pharmacist if someone had turned the money in, but the answer was no. She was kind enough to make an announcement over the PA system, even saying the money was for a child’s medication. But there was no response to the announcement.

The pharmacist gave us enough medication for the night, saying we could return the next day to pay for and pick up the rest of the pills. Although that was a nice gesture, I had no idea where I would get the money overnight.

Meanwhile, a woman shopper heard the announcement, proceeded to the pharmacy, and paid for my daughter’s medication. I asked her name and address to repay her, but she wouldn’t give it to me. She told me to pass on the good deed. We talked a few minutes, and I found out that we both worked in the same field — with juvenile delinquents. She was very interesting and I enjoyed talking with her very much.

After she left, I asked the pharmacist if she knew the lady. She did, but of course couldn’t share her address because of confidentiality laws. She told me this woman was suffering from cancer and not doing well. She must have been going through treatments which caused her to lose her hair, because she wore a scarf like many cancer patients who have lost their hair.

I never found out what happened to this kind woman. My daughter regained her health, and I wished so much that this woman would regain hers. Indications from the pharmacist were that she died the following year.

Never will I forget this kind woman who was willing to pay for my daughter’s medication while she was suffering from a disease she would never recover from. Thank you, gentle soul, for the way you so deeply touched my life.

Originally published as HeroicStories #393 on March 20, 2003

6 thoughts on “A Generous Woman”

    • wow; what can I say but this woman surely did not feel sorry for herself even though she had cancer. I do know that when we give out of our trials; we feel more blessed. As I believe and as my mother really lived this motto; it is much better to give than to receive. I am bless to be able to read these stories. Thanks

  1. Don’t know or care what this says about me, and won’t spend much time trying to figure it out, but, the more of these stories I read, the more I wish some day someone could write a story like this about me. Very inspiring.

  2. This story reminded me that fear does not have to take our humanity away from us. The brave lady with cancer was able to overcome the horrible fear she was living with and respond to another’s fearful circumstances with compassion and generosity.


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