The summer is winding down, and kids are heading back to school. For a lot of parents, the fact that their children will be out of the house for a few hours every day will be a big relief.
But for other parents, back-to-school season itself is a hassle: your kids need their school supplies for September, along with maybe some new clothes and backpacks. For many struggling parents, it can be a financial burden.
One mother, however, won’t have to worry after help came from the most unexpected place: a text message from a stranger.
A Random Message
An Imgur user known as BillietheUnicorn42 shared the heartwarming conversation she had in July. A single mother, Billie sometimes posts in a Facebook group for women like her, seeking advice. Her posts got the attention of a woman in the group who, out of the blue, sent her a very surprising text message:
This total stranger made an astounding offer: to buy all of her son’s school supplies.
“I was … looking for a single mom that could probably use a chance to catch a break,” the message read. “For some reason, your posts popped out to me.”
The woman had a few stipulations, including to keep her identity completely anonymous (Billie did get her permission to share the story with her name removed) and to “pay it forward” if she ever got the chance.
It all seemed too good to be true: “I didn’t know her at all,” Billie wrote on Imgur. “I was a bit cautious of course, I stalked her online and made sure she wasn’t an ax murderer.”
“I can’t imagine why I stood out to you,” she texted the woman. “But I am so astonished. I don’t even know what to say.”
Ultimately, despite some reluctance, she accepted the woman’s generous offer: “I’m conflicted because I am not good at accepting help,” Billie wrote. “But I can’t even explain how amazingly this would help.”
Paying it Forward
The woman then explained what inspired her to assist someone like this: she had received her own random act of kindness. Twenty years ago, a man got her name out of the newspaper and made a $75,000 donation for her college education, all while remaining completely anonymous.
It changed the woman’s life, and this was her way of giving back.
“I was just a random name in a [newspaper],” the woman wrote. “You were a random one on a FB post. Life connects people in funny ways.”
The Gift Arrives
Amazingly, the woman made good on her promise: she bought all Billie’s son’s supplies and had it shipped to her (just to be safe, Billie had them shipped to her office).
Inside the box: paper towels, pencil cases, dry erase markers, and even a brand-new pair of shoes. While it wasn’t quite paying a full college tuition, it made a huge difference for Billie.
“This won’t change your life the way mine was, but maybe just make it a little bit brighter for a while,” the stranger texted her.
“I opened the boxes today,” Billie wrote on Imgur. “All of my son’s school supplies and some extras. A new pair of shoes, which is awesome [because I’m] super thrifty and hardly ever buy brand new things. He is gonna be super excited.”