Hemelt: Pay it forward – Couple purchases groceries of stranger in need

Published 12:03 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

Caitlyn Ursin was ready for last week’s Saints game. She just needed to swing by the grocery store for a couple of last minute extras to make a football watching party that much better.

The 18-year-old LaPlace native and Vacherie resident decided to stop by Matherne’s Market around noon Sunday to check off her grocery list items.

The River Parishes Community College student went about her shopping, as usual, collecting the needed items in her basket before heading to the checkout counter.

Before scanning her items Caitlyn quickly realized her debit card was unaccounted for in her purse.

In recounting the story this week, Caitlyn told me she turned to the couple in line behind her, telling them to go ahead while she located the card.

The couple, Emily and Beau St. Pierre of Montz, said they weren’t in a rush and initially balked at jumping ahead of Caitlyn before ultimately checking out while Caitlyn’s card search continued.

“By the time they checked out, I still couldn’t find my card,” Caitlyn said. “As (Emily) was finishing paying for her groceries, she came back and asked, ‘You didn’t find your card?’ I told her “no,” and she said ‘I’m going to pay for your groceries.’”

Caitlyn said the friendly couple, who she had not met before, insisted on the purchase.

According to Caitlyn, she told Emily and Beau “thank you,” and Emily just asked that Caitlyn, “pay it forward.”

Emily, originally from Erath, said you never know when someone is going through a bad time or a rough day.

“It was the right thing to do at the right time,” she told me this week. “I would have regretted it if we had not done something.”

Emily said her husband, Beau, “is a great guy” who routinely helps those in need.

“He is always buying food or giving money,” she said. “He does the right thing often.”

Caitlyn, a St. James High graduate and current nursing student, told me she looks forward to paying the favor forward.

Caitlyn called the quick encounter “amazing.” She shared news of it with her social media friends, tagging a photo of herself, Emily and Beau: “This nice lady & her husband decided to pay for my groceries because I couldn’t find my card. There are still nice people in Laplace.”

As for her debit card, Caitlyn said she eventually found it, of all places, in her purse stuck between some papers.

Unfortunately for Caitlyn, Emily and Beau, they were each buying goodies for a Saints party and, well, we all know how that turned out.

Stephen Hemelt is publisher and editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or stephen.hemelt@lobservateur.com.