New Mexico

Las Cruces Albertson's cashier pays for stranger's lunch

EL PASO, Texas - A Las Cruces woman told ABC-7 she was overwhelmed at the generosity of an Albertson's employee who paid for her lunch after her debit card malfunctioned.

"I just started bawling," said Corrie Stone, who was shopping at the Albertson's on Lohman. "I was crying, just so emotional."

Stone was attempting to buy her lunch at Tracie Valenzuela's register on Friday when the machine alerted her twice that she had the wrong pin, even though she felt she was entering it correctly. Stone didn't have cash on her and Valenzuela warned that her debit card could become locked.

"I was so embarrassed, there was a lot of people behind me, so I just tried to discreetly walk away and leave," Stone said. 

In a split second, Valenzuela, an employee of Albertson's for nearly two decades, decided to pay for the stranger's lunch. 

"She started walking away, and I said, ‘Ma’am, could you please come back?'" Valenzuela recalled. "I said, 'Take it. Lunch is on me.’"

Instead of asking for any money in return, Valenzuela told Stone to pay the act of kindness forward.

"I'm just really happy that Tracie could help the customer out," said Darrel Britton, the store's director. "She went above and beyond her job duties."

Days later, Stone was still taken aback by Valenzuela's kindness. She couldn't recall the employee's name, but posted on Facebook to try and determine who helped her.

After being reunited on Monday, the two vowed to go to lunch again, on Stone's dime.

"This just really made my day," Valenzuela said. "Praise God.”

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