When someone publishes an open letter to Whole Foods shoppers, all kinds of possibilities come to mind about what its subject might be. But the one written by Deborah Greene in the Washington Post likely defies those expectations. In it, she recalls how she was doing her shopping when her brother called to tell her their father had committed suicide. "After I hung up, I started to cry and scream as my whole body trembled," she writes. Much of what she recalls is a blur, except for the general awareness that a group of kind shoppers had surrounded her and were doing all they could to help. "You could have kept on walking," she writes, "but you didn't."
One asked for her phone and called her husband. Another sought out a friend of Greene's who worked at the store. The members of the group surrounding her—strangers both to her and to each other—even talked among themselves about driving Greene home, and one left a gift card at the store for her family. "Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day," she writes. "And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life-altering moment, it is not all darkness. Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured." Click for the full letter. (Read more Whole Foods stories.)