A Routine Grocery Trip Turned Into A Life-Changing Act Of Kindness

The weekly grocery shopping trip is a pretty standard routine for most Americans. A person creates a list of what they need, heads to the store to buy it and that’s pretty much it until the following week, right? 

Well, for Memphis, Tennessee resident Matt White, a routine grocery shopping trip would become anything but routine when he encountered a teenage boy in the parking lot. That encounter would eventually result in a life-changing act of kindness that’s all too often lacking in today’s hustle and bustle modern world. 

Matt White was just an ordinary guy

Matt is a 30-something guy in Memphis. He had graduated from college and was making his way through the music business as a singer/songwriter. There was nothing out of the ordinary about Matt’s weekly grocery trip. 

Kroger was his grocery store of choice. The prices were good, the produce was fresh, and it was in a somewhat upper-class neighborhood in an otherwise poor section of the city. Matt had just paid for his items and was walking out to the parking lot. When…

An encounter with a stranger

As Matt was walking out to the parking lot, a teenage boy began walking with him. The boy didn’t have any grocery bags in his hand, and the clothes he had on weren’t especially nice. It was obvious that he wasn’t at the Kroger to buy a week’s worth of groceries.

As Matt made eye contact with the teen, a barrage of different scenarios flooded his head. Was the teen going to beg for money? Perhaps he wanted directions? Nope, it was something else.

Matt and the teenager strike up a conversation

The teenage boy initiated a conversation with Matt and introduced himself as Chauncy Jones Black. He was 16-years-old and had taken the bus from his home to what he called “the rich people’s Kroger.” Matt was getting by, but he was hardly rich. 

Chauncy didn’t waste any time and told Matt that he wasn’t begging for money, but hoping to earn a few quick bucks. He only had an hour before he had to catch the last bus home, but had a proposition for Matt. 

Just a bag of doughnuts

The teen was simply hungry and wanted to find a way to earn some food. As Matt would later recall, Chauncy said, “‘If you’ll help me buy some donuts, I’ll carry your groceries to your car.’ And I thought, ‘I can do better than that.’ ” 

Matt said he’d never had a proposition like that and said, “In my heart, I screamed a loud ‘yes!’ But to him, I just chuckled and said, ‘yeah dude, we’ll get you some doughnuts.'”

The pair headed back into the store and began shopping

Matt felt bad for the kid. It was obvious that he was hungry and likely didn’t have much. Still, he was intrigued by Chauncy’s simple offer of service and the pair walked back into the store to get that bag of doughnuts. 

As they walked, Matt and Chauncy began making small talk and that’s when Matt first began to realize just how different Chauncy’s world was than his own. They came from different backgrounds and somehow life had brought them together… Matt would eventually realize he been presented with an opportunity to make a huge difference. 

They got more than simply a bag of doughnuts

Matt could have simply gotten Chauncy that bag of doughnuts, waved goodbye, and he probably would have never seen him again. That isn’t Matt White, though. As the pair chatted, Matt began grabbing more food for the teenager. Cereal, snacks, fruits, some toothpaste, just little things that Chauncy was living without. 

The two took an instant liking to each other and Chauncy told Matt about his life. “All the while we talked and he told me how he makes straight A’s in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent,” Matt said. “This kid was amazing.”

A life of poverty

Chauncy may have been poor, but he was anything but lazy. During their conversation, Chauncy referred to himself as “poor,” but told Matt that he wouldn’t stay that way. He relayed that it was his dream to become a “rich entrepreneur” so that he could give back to the people in his neighborhood and provide for his mother.

Chauncy takes Matt into his world

An empty fridge and an empty home

Matt would tell a local news station that when he drove Chauncy back to his neighborhood and dropped him off at home that he was “truly humbled.” The teenager invited Matt inside to meet his mother and realized just how truthful Chauncy was being when he said there wasn’t any food at home. 

“They had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing.” Unfortunately, the rest of the home was equally upsetting for Matt.

Chauncy introduces his mother, Barbara Black

Matt immediately noticed how polite and gracious Chauncy’s mother was, upon meeting him. She introduced herself as Barbara and dotted on her son as a “good boy.” She told Matt that because of a medical condition, it was difficult for her to move much and this made working or even leaving the house for a simple grocery trip nearly impossible. 

The tough life of a single mother

Barbara was the best mother that she knew to be to Chauncy, but she was actually his grandmother. The 61-year-old had legally adopted Chauncy from her daughter when he was just a baby and raised him along with six other children who were by this point grown. 

With complications from diabetes, Barbara could no longer work and it was Chauncy who took care of her. “The past few years, Chauncy has been taking care of me,” she would later say. “I couldn’t ask for better.”

Matt knew that something had to change

The groceries were a nice gesture, but they were hardly going to be life-changing. “I just knew I had to do something,” Matt said. “I’m not wealthy, but I live a comfortable life. I saw how he was living and it touched my heart.” Matt thought that there had to be something else he could do for this family and that’s when it hit him…