Life has dealt Therra Gywn-Jaramillo a series of hard blows. After her mom died of Hurricane Katrina-related injuries and her husband passed away from brain cancer, she has struggled to support herself as well as take care of her disabled brother and her four rescued dogs, two rescued cats, and elderly, blind chicken.
Recently, things got even more complicated. She took an unexpected $4,000 financial hit and at the same time did not receive an expected freelance writing check. She had no idea what she was going to do.
“There is no one else to do it. It’s all on me,” Therra wrote in a Facebook post. “I was too embarrassed to say out loud I was having financial difficulty but it was a solid problem. I was making rice for me and the dogs to eat. I was losing sleep. I was crying daily. I rationed gas in my car…. It was breaking me into pieces.”
“I almost gave up completely and have rarely felt so alone,” she added.
Then Therra got an unexpected gift from a friend – a $250 gift card to Whole Foods.
She practically skipped into the store as she thought of the yummy food she was going to have and the good food she would be able to buy for her pets. She had no idea that she was about to meet an angel…
As she waited in line to pay for her groceries, the pet food she had picked up got mixed in with the items of the man ahead of her in line. When she realized what had happened, she quickly tried to make it right.
“Whoa,” she told the cashier, “Oh no, sorry, that’s mine. So sorry.”
But as she reached for the food, the man said something that left her stunned:
“I might as well get it,” he told the cashier.
Grateful, Therra went to pay for the rest of her groceries. Realizing she had gone over the $250 she had on the gift card, she told the cashier not to scan the rest of her items, but then the kind stranger went one step further:
“I said I got this,” he told Therra as he paid for all of her groceries – $375 in total.
“I stared wide-eyed at this handsome young African-American man, this stranger, as if he’d just dropped through the ceiling like a black James Bond, like a Batman, like the Black Panther,” Therra recalled. “Then I started to cry.”
She asked the man’s name and he told her it was Chris. Then they shook hands and Therra hugged him and tried to come up with the words to thank him.
“I tripped over my words, all the while thinking, ‘I’m talking to an angel. Should I tell him? Should I tell him he’s an angel?'” Therra recalled.
“Who ARE you?” she asked the man.
“Just a guy,” he replied.
“No, not ‘just a guy,'” Therra thought as she wiped tears from her eyes.
The man finished paying and then asked if Therra needed any help.
“No,” she told him, “but I do need to thank you again.”
“You’re sweet,” he replied. “You’re nice to rescue dogs.”
“I’m lucky,” Therra said, “You, my friend, are sweet. You’re special. I want to be like you.”
Then she hugged her angel again and watched him walk out the door.
As Therra put the rest of her items in the cart, the cashier came over to help.
“You know that’s Ludacris, right?” the cashier told her.
“WHAT” Therra screamed. “I love him!”
She’d had no idea it was the famous rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges who had paid for her groceries!
While Ludacris didn’t reveal his identity at the time, he is known for his philanthropic work. He is the founder of The Ludacris Foundation, an organization that works to “inspire urban youth to live their dreams and envision new possibilities for their lives.”
The foundation partners with inner-city schools, community organizations like the Boys & Girls Club, and business, religious, and government leaders to help “provide resources, experiences and tools to help youth live their dreams.”
Therra was so overwhelmed by what had happened that she went home and shared the whole story on her Facebook page.
“Ludacris. This guy is awesome run amok,” she wrote. “You know why? He was just doing something kind for a disheveled, harried stranger. Showing the love in his soul. Shining a light in the world. But there’s something else.
“What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that I can’t really afford to shop at Whole Foods. Not much, anyway. I was there because Miracle Mary gave me a gift card and knew I’d been shouldering a very rough time as of late.
“What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that my husband died of brain cancer and climbing out of that hole, emotionally, physically and financially, has devastated me for most of four years. I won’t lie. I’ve struggled in ways I didn’t know a human could struggle and still survive.
“What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that I’m Hurricane Katrina survivor and I lost my mother because of that unnatural disaster.
“What Ludacris had no way of knowing is that his quiet kindness and generous gesture came at a moment when my candle was out.
“He used his personal light to fire up my own. Isn’t that what we should be doing for each other?
“I think it is.
“Be like Ludacris y’all.”
Therra said she now plans to pay Ludacris’s kindness forward. Even though she is still struggling and may not be able to pay for someone’s groceries, she knows she can still help others in her own special ways.
“We can, every one of us, do SOMEthing for others,” she said. “You never know a stranger’s full story when you reach out a hand and yank them into a better place.
“Thank you, Chris. God bless you.”
Were you touched by what Ludacris did for Therra when she was in need? Then share it!