Were you one of the people at Fred Meyer Monday evening as South Kitsap firefighters and paramedics randomly paid customers’ tabs at the checkout counters?
Here are excerpts of the story about their generosity that will run in tomorrow’s paper. When you’re done reading, I hope you’ll comment on random acts of kindness and generosity you’ve witnessed (or received) this holiday season.
SK firefighters pay it forward for Christmas
By Chris Henry
SOUTH KITSAP — Shoppers at Port Orchard’s Fred Meyer were surprised Monday to see South Kitsap Fire & Rescue firefighters hanging around the checkout stands, randomly stepping up to pay for people’s groceries.
“The look on their face was just priceless and melted my heart,” wrote checker Tawnya Erickson, in a conversation in the Port Orchard Facebook group. “The look in their eyes was just filled with joy and thankfulness! I was pleased to be a part of it.”
This is the third year in a row the South Kitsap Professional Firefighters, a union of firefighters and paramedics, has organized spontaneous acts of kindness in the three days before Christmas, according to Battalion Chief Jeff Faucett.
South Kitsap Fire & Rescue doesn’t actively take part but condones the event by allowing on duty firefighters to participate in the gifting — as long as there’s not a fire or other emergency.
This year’s effort was spearheaded by Firefighter Eddie Lange of Station 31, Faucett said.
The union allocates money for each shift of firefighters and paramedics, and each shift decides how to dispense the boon, which they wield in the form of prepaid Visa cards. In a previous year, one shift hosted Shop-with-a Firefighter, for example.
“They call it their three days of random acts of kindness,” Faucett said. “It’s kind of been a cool little thing they do.”
Faucett added he’s heard of other fire departments doing similar forms of drive-by gifting.
Chiefs are in a different union, but Faucett, when he was still part of the professional firefighters group, had a hand in the generosity, paying it forward for customers at a local Albertson’s store. He still remembers the reactions he got.
“They’re blown away. Some people are like, ‘Are you serious?’” Faucett said. “It’s good for the community when we pull together. You don’t know any history. You don’t know why they’re there. You don’t know what’s going on in their life.”
Tell us about random acts of kindness you’ve seen this holiday season by visiting the Kitsap Sun’s Peninsular Thinking blog, http://pugetsoundblogs.com/peninsular-thinking/; click on the “Random Acts” post. And have a Merry Christmas.”
Merry Christmas from all of us at the Kitsap Sun!