Army Dad Snaps Pic Of Woman’s Cart, Then It Quickly Goes Viral

Army Dad Snaps Pic Of Woman

After working so hard in the military, Patrick Gibson was finally at a place where he could make life work for his family. Wherever he could, Patrick cut costs because, with two new kids and a wife, he knew it wasn’t just his well-being on the line. But in a crowded North Carolina supermarket, Patrick saw something that would change his life forever. It angered him deeply, and he shared his encounter on Facebook — not expecting it to start a huge controversy.

Military Bound

Patrick Gibson was once a young man without many viable career options, but he found a purpose with the U.S. Army. Thanks to his hard work and vision, Patrick’s fortunes turned around. The veteran developed a strong sense of right and wrong — which spurred him into action that day at the grocery store.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Got A Job

Money was often on his mind. After finishing his service, Patrick looked for a job that would make him enough money to support him and his family. He ended up joining the working class like millions of other Americans. Life wasn’t lavish, but he was doing just fine and knew the value of his work.

Noam Galai / Getty Images

Beautiful Wife

Patrick was sure he wanted to forge a new path for himself, starting with a family. He knew for sure that his girlfriend, Whitney, was the one for him, and asked her to marry him even though they were young. With enough hard work, they’d make a beautiful life together.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Kids Came Next

That beautiful life arrived fast, and it happened in the form of two kids, a boy and a girl. Patrick suddenly had to make enough money not only for himself but also two other people — three if you count Whitney. Still, he was determined to make it work.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Skipped Breakfast

As the sole breadwinner in the family, Patrick was under a lot of pressure to not only make ends meet, but also to provide basic needs for his children and wife. This often meant skipping breakfast, which was one of the many sacrifices that allowed him to stay afloat.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Help From The System

Patrick worked so hard that he never had to ask for help, not from his parents or the government. But the same can’t be said for everyone else. For one reason or another, poverty hit each household differently, and Patrick was okay with that until a certain supermarket visit.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Normal Visit

At the Fayetteville store in 2015, Patrick went through each aisle and grabbed everything he needed. Like any person, there’s always stuff he saw that he couldn’t afford. After all, the point was to get the basics, not dabble in every luxury that offered itself up. He was doing his best, and his family appreciated the sacrifice.

CCR ZONE / YouTube

Looking Out for Deals

As Patrick shopped, he made sure to look out for special deals wherever he could find them. This was the difference between a casual and smart shopper. There are plenty of savings to go around if you know where to look! But he noticed other shoppers didn’t care as much.

Wonderbot / YouTube

Grocery Visit

Something wild happened once Patrick reached the cashier. It’s not that he had any trouble with his own order, but he couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at a stranger in line with him. The details didn’t seem to add up.

Stevepb/Pixabay

The Other Cart

He couldn’t get it out of his system. The veteran was concerned about the overflowing cart in front of him, containing all kinds of grocery goodies. That on its own wasn’t too unusual, but Patrick also took notice of the customer’s behavior.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Luxury Goods

It’s not just that the shopping cart was packed to the brim, but also that it contained mostly luxury goods. Bacon, steak, and shrimp were just of the few non-essentials he spotted. These were items he could never afford to buy regularly while supporting his family, but it’s not jealousy that Patrick was experiencing.

Patrick Gibson/Facebook

Pay Up

Once the cashier finished ringing up this mystery shopper’s order, the grand total came out to around eight hundred dollars! Patrick was a little surprised given the sheer amount of food they had piled up, but what happened next threw him into a frenzy.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Hundred Dollar Bills

The customer took out their wallet, shuffled through several wads of cold hard cash, and decided instead to finally take out their EBT card, designed to help those in need afford basic goods. Patrick, who would be paying in cash himself, felt this family was getting a boatload of gourmet food for free.

Wikimedia Commons

New Car Too

Patrick was mad, but he decided to get a little more intel before saying something. He followed the shopper to the parking lot, where he found that the man also had a brand new car! Another way in which this person seemed to not be so poor after all. 

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

It Wasn’t Fair

How was it that Patrick spent his days and nights working to support his family, and this person was taking advantage of government help while also having wads and wads of cash to spend? It simply wasn’t fair, and he wouldn’t rest until he said something about it.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

Crowded Day

Gibson realized it would be a little risky, as this wasn’t an average day at the store. The store was packed with families, and the lines were very long. It’s not that Patrick wanted to make matters any worse, but he couldn’t hold back any longer.

Ashley Hopko / ARL Now

Not In Public

As angry as he was, Patrick was too much of a gentleman to approach this shopper in person. He gathered his feelings, snapped a few photos, and went back home. That’s when he logged into Facebook to speak his mind on what had just happened.

Patrick Gibson/Facebook

Shared by Thousands

Patrick hit “Share,” but he wasn’t expecting thousands upon thousands of others to do the same after reading his post. In some time, over 150,000 others had reposted his original message, which brought calm to Patrick’s tired heart. Then again, a few messages made him even angrier.

Wonderbot/YouTube

Controversial Opinions

Patrick received a lot of support. That being said, not everyone who engaged with the post fully agreed with Patrick. Some thought he might have been overreacting and jumping to conclusions, just because he was angry. They claimed that he had no idea where that money came from and that the car could have been a gift! Plus, was it really his place to judge a stranger?

MrBeast / YouTube

Grand Takeaway

To his credit, Patrick was diplomatic about how he responded to both his supporters and his critics. He clarified that there are a lot of people in need of the system’s help, but that he felt those who are scamming it were simply un-American. That day made the soldier’s blood boil. But people commenting on his post also pointed out something Patrick hadn’t known.

Patrick Gibson / Facebook

A Different Take

For every person out there trying to scam the system, there is also a good samaritan. One person explained that when a National Guardsman in her community named Luis Ocampo returned home after a dangerous stint of hurricane relief, he was greeted by one of the most devastating sights.

Duty Calls

She explained that Luis Ocampo was an Army Medic who lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his girlfriend Kailey Finch and their son Lucian. Luis served in the North Carolina National Guard, and in September 2018, duty called him into action.

Massive Storm

Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm, smacked the coast with heavy winds and torrential rain, flooding cities and destroying homes. The Guard deployed Luis to the riverfront city of New Bern, which the storm hit particularly hard.

Finding Safety

While Luis and his local soldiers navigated the storm’s aftermath, helping anyone who needed water, food, or what have you, 20-year-old Kailey and Lucian headed for a place they would feel safer without Luis around.

Away From Home

Specifically, she took her soon to Luis’s parents’ house so she wouldn’t be alone for days. She left the family dog at home, where she checked in on him periodically. For a few days, the family lived like this — away from home and apart.

Coming Home

On September 21, Luis returned home from his brief stint in New Bern. After helping people piece their lives back together, he expected at least a few hours for himself. But once at home, he did not receive a hero’s welcome.

Something’s Off

With Kailey still at his parents’ house, Luis arrived at home only to be greeted by a curious sight: the dog — who’d been home all by himself — was running around in the front yard.

Open Door

Even more curious was that the back door had been left wide open. Either the dog taught himself a new trick and opened the door himself, or someone who should not have opened that back door. Gulp.

Someone Broke In

Most telling of all, however, was that the window in his son’s bedroom was propped open: someone busted the lock with a nearby shovel and crawled into the home! They weren’t still inside, were they?

No One Inside

Luis entered his house through the wide-open back door and looked around. There was, thankfully, no one still inside the home. But that was just about the only positive the soldier could take away from what he saw.

Completely Ransacked

The intruder flung clothes everywhere. They stole a laptop Luis kept all of his school work on; they stole a video game system, a firearm, and even swiped food from the refrigerator! And they didn’t stop there.

Devastating Loss

The thieves took a box of coins Luis’s grandmother collected from around the world — something immensely sentimental to the 24-year-old. After surveying the damage, all he could do was stick his face in his hands.

Taking To Facebook

This was how Kailey found her soldier when she returned home. Wanting to do something to help, she turned to Facebook and wrote a status that she didn’t know would eventually change their lives.

Spreading The Word

“This soldier, my soldier,” Kailey wrote, “lost everything of importance…We are trying to get the word out and see if anyone has any information about who may have taken it. Please share and see what we can find out!”

Feeling Their Pain

A friend of Kailey’s, Mary Elise Capron, saw the post and felt an overwhelming sense of grief for the couple she loved dearly. She’d worked closely with Luis over the years and knew him as “an amazing soldier and person.”

Setting Up A Fundraiser

Mary wanted to help, so she set up a GoFundMe. “I am honored to know [Luis],” she wrote, “and cannot believe something so terrible could happen to someone so dedicated to the service, his family, and school.”

Donations Flooded In

Mary set a fundraising goal of $5,000. That, she figured, would be plenty to replace the laptop and firearm, and to repair the broken bedroom window. Eventually, donations flooded in…and they wouldn’t stop!

Shutting It Down

In 11 days, the GoFundMe raised thousands for the couple, who eventually asked Mary to shut down the fundraiser! They were making too much money, they argued, and didn’t “want to abuse people’s generosity.”

A New Plan

But the public actually asked Mary to re-open the fundraiser after she shut it down at the couple’s behest: they wanted to help out this woebegone soldier! This made Luis uncomfortable, so he and Mary worked out another plan.

Redirecting The Funds

Delighted with the public’s enthusiasm to help a soldier in need, Luis, Kailey, and Mary redirected new donations to Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, which helps local Guardsmen facing hardships.

Paying It Forward

The couple even gave some of the donation money — which totaled nearly $15,000! — to a soldier who’d been living in a hotel after a Hurricane Florence brought a tree down on his home. Luis and Kailey turned a disaster into a positive moment.

Helping Those In Need

“A big part of wanting to give the donations comes from seeing how generous people have been,” Luis said. “And I wanted to pay that back to someone else who needed help.”