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LETTER: ‘Highway hero’ shows kindness to those in need

TOMAH, Wis. — The American soldier. The police officer. The firefighter. All heroes, and rightfully so.

But if you look closely, you’ll also find heroes every day and in every walk of life. The gentleman at the Tesoro convenience store along U.S. Highway 2 in East Grand Forks, for instance.

My family had received some devastating medical news on the morning of Aug. 15. That evening, as we were leaving Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, we stopped at the Tesoro store to pick up a light meal to take home.

As we were gathering our purchases, my phone rang. It was a family friend, and I proceeded to apprise him of the situation.

As we took our purchases to the checkout counter, the gentleman in front of us told the cashier that he’d like to pay for our purchase as well. I assumed that this was some sort of “pay it forward” moment, but soon realized how much more than that it was.

I politely declined the man’s offer, but he insisted, saying “I overheard your conversation, and I want to help. I hope things work out for you.”

For a brief, shining moment, the kind gesture of one individual parted the clouds of grief and allowed a little bit of joy into an otherwise very sad day.

Grand Forks area, you have a hero amongst you. His uniform is shorts and a T-shirt. His occupation is just being a truly wonderful human being.

If you are reading this, sir, thank you for the moment of joy you brought us. And if any Herald readers know who this man is, please thank him and celebrate him for the hero he is.

Mike Bauer