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It took Dorothy Speight a minute to figure out that a complete stranger was paying for her groceries on Tuesday.
“I still can’t believe that happened to me,” a shocked Speight said. “It restores my hope in people. Just to experience it is a joy that’s not describable. It’s just wonderful.”
Speight was one of several Piggly Wiggly customers who received a bountiful blessing ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday thanks to a local couple.
M.D. Eger and his wife, Bernadette, love to give back. And on Tuesday, they decided to surprise complete strangers and pay for their groceries at the Piggly Wiggly on Ward Boulevard.
“We just want to be a light in the community,” M.D. Eger said. “We’ve been passionate about this. The Lord has blessed us through the year. This is really close my heart.”
From supporting backpack giveaways to helping children in need to providing free haircuts, the Egers understand what random acts of kindness can do for a person’s spirit. Last Thanksgiving, they purchased food that was given away at N.C. Love in Action.
“It’s special because when you have been in the places where some of the people are today, you know what it looks like,” Bernadette Eger said. “You know what it feels like. Then to know that there are people who still care regardless of how the economy may be or what’s going on in life, there are still good people.”
The random acts of kindness Tuesday afternoon brought some to tears, others couldn’t stop smiling.
“It means so much,” Hazel Spells said as she hugged M.D. Eger to thank him for purchasing her groceries. “I’m shaking right now. This has never happened to me.”
Ashley Stancil, Piggly Wiggly’s store manager, said it was truly wonderful to see it all unfold.
“It’s amazing people still want to do stuff like this,” Stancil said.
‘WE FOUND WAYS TO GIVE’
M.D. Eger, who owns business consulting firm M.D. Eger and Associates, said he knows what it’s like to struggle. He was an orphan and grew up in the system. He ran away from home more than a dozen times. He’s been homeless. He’s lost loved ones due to domestic violence. And he also knows the real pangs of hunger.
“I came from rough beginnings,” he said. “I’ve been there.”
He said there was also a time he and his wife lost everything.
“We lost everything we owned,” he said. “We were on the street.”
But despite their own circumstances back then, the husband and wife always tried to give back to others, even in small ways.
“Even when we didn’t have anything, we found ways to give,” he said.
He said he didn’t want his past to define his future.
“As long as you focus on your past, you can never go forward because you are constantly looking backwards,” he said. “Fear is the opposite of faith.”
And his life struggles have prepared him for greater things and the ability to bless others in a big way.
“Our past was to prepare us for our promise, not to paralyze us,” he said.
‘WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN’
M.D. Eger said giving doesn’t have to always be monetary. He said sometimes people just need a hug or a kind word.
“Reach out to other people,” he said.
He said he hopes others are inspired to give not only during the holiday season,C but throughout the year as well.
“People always say, ‘I wish I could make a difference,’” he said. “It’s a desire and an action that we have to be proactive on. We are all God’s children.”
And there is a basic principle he and his wife have lived by for years.
“Give and it shall be given unto you,” he said.