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Kindness leads to kindness. This story is an example of just that. It started when Morgan Smestad, Customer Services Rep in Grafton, agreed to pick up mail for her coworker Denny, while he was on vacation. Every few days, she made her way to the post office to collect his things and bring them back.

“I could just see he needed help,” Morgan said. And so, she stepped in.

This is what she was doing on one particularly busy afternoon, when she saw the man. He appeared to be in his 70’s, with slicked-back gray hair, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. “Just like a Grandpa might wear,” Morgan said. But something was not right. His hands were shaking, and she heard him sniffling. He fumbled with a shipping box before it slipped out of his hands onto the floor.

“I could just see he needed help,” Morgan said. And so, she stepped in.

“Is there anything I can do to help you? Or is someone helping you?” she asked.

“No one is helping me,” he said, distraught. “I am trying to find the best box to ship this size jar.”

He held up a small jar, the kind in which you might store jam or honey. It was empty.

“Hmm ok, let’s see.” Morgan sifted through the boxes, searching for the right size.

“I need it to be on the cheaper end,” the man explained. “I just spent a lot of money on funeral expenses.”

Morgan paused and looked up. The man’s eyes filled with tears.

“My wife died a week ago,” he said. “I’m using these jars to send her ashes to our son and daughter.”

Being 8 months pregnant did not help the emotional wave that hit Morgan. She felt her own eyes fill with tears as she struggled to find the right words. They stood there for a moment, two complete strangers in a post office, grieving together.

“Well, let me help you out,” Morgan said, at last. They found a box that fit the jars and would be low cost. Now he just needed to package the jars and ship them. Morgan knew she had to get back to the office to help out, but before she did she pressed a $20 bill into his hand.

“I don’t know if this will cover all of it, but keep whatever is left over,” she said. “And know that we are thinking of you in this difficult time.”

“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you.”

“We all get caught up in our own lives. It’s nice when you can stop and think, wait a minute, this person needs help.”

As she collected Denny’s mail and said goodbye, she saw the man smile for the first time since they’d met.

Back at Choice, Morgan shared what had just happened. Her team was warmed by how she responded.

“It’s nice to see some good out there,” Jeannette, Loan Assistant in Grafton said. “We all get caught up in our own lives. It’s nice when you get stopped and think, wait a minute, this person needs help. Morgan didn’t think twice. It was an act she just did.”

One of Choice Financial’s core values is “better the places we live.” It is this value that came to mind for Morgan and Jeanette as they reflected on what happened at the Post Office, and why it matters.

“If we all tried to better the places we live… it’d be a lot better world out there,” Morgan said.

Sometimes all it takes is pausing to hear someone’s story.