NewsPositively San Diego


Act of kindness from 'masked stranger' encourages Santee woman to pay it forward

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Posted at 4:00 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 19:00:57-05

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) — Katie Shetley thought it'd be like any other shopping trip to her Target in Santee, until she realized her credit card wasn't going through at the checkout line.

"I had to pull over to the side of the register to figure it out and once I did, I got back in line and the cashier finished with the woman ahead of me and when women left, the cashier said she put a gift card towards my purchase," she said.

And the woman, Shetley now refers to as the "masked stranger," was already gone before she could say thank you. But she knew the feeling she had at that very moment wouldn't wear off any time soon.

"It's just one of those moments that, I'm gonna tear up again, small things can affect someone. They can make their day, make someone feel, 'cool someone noticed me, someone cares who doesn't even know who I am,'" said Shetley.

She said the woman could probably tell it was a rough day, just one in what for many has been the roughest year. Shetley was coming off a day of homeschooling that fully tested her patience. She also returned to work recently and luck wasn't on her side at the office.

"I tore a ligament in my back so I was back on bed rest at home. It had just been one thing after another," says Shetley.

And that day at Target, a stranger hit the bullseye. Shetley was surprised, grateful and is now on a mission to pay it forward.

"If I see someone struggling like I was, maybe if they forgot their card or their purchase was larger than expected, I'd love to come forward and help them with that," she said.

Shetley added it's also a simple reminder, you never know what someone, even the stranger beside you in line, is going through.

"We can help each other and show that we care because you don't know what the person behind you is going through. You don't know what's going on in their head so sending that message there are there people who care might change their perspective especially now," said Shetley.