When the cupboard was bare

It seemed life was conspiring against Deb.

That’s how a cash-strapped Papamoa mum describes the Samaritan who stepped in and salvaged a dire situation at the supermarket checkout this week.

“It was an amazing act of goodwill,” says Deb. “I was in shock and crying a bit”. But, by the time she regathered her wits out in the carpark the Samaritan was gone. “I didn’t get to ask her name or phone number. I just want the opportunity to thank her personally.”

Deb asks for a little anonymity – she doesn’t want her circumstances to impact on anyone. So for the purposes of the story, she will be just Deb. But Deb wants to put her gratitude out there in the hope it’ll filter back to the Samaritan.

On Wednesday afternoon Deb was despondent – it was a real life Mother Hubbard moment. “The cupboard was bare, no food, we desperately needed shopping. My caregiver wages were down because some of my clients were in hospital. If we don’t have clients we don’t get paid. There was an unexpected expense of $60 to take my child to the doctor, my shoe had broken and there was only a few drops of petrol left in the car.”

Seemed life was conspiring against Deb.

She went to WINZ. “I told them we didn’t have enough to get by.” So WINZ answered the call and bankrolled a $60 emergency dash to the supermarket. “I loaded up what I thought was $60 worth but at the checkout I was $3 over. I said I would put the half bunch of celery back.”

Cue the Good Samaritan lined up behind Deb. She stepped straight out of Luke 10:33. “No, no, no she said – take your celery, I will cover it, I will pay for it. I said no, I can live without the celery. But she insisted. It was wonderful.”

The largesse should have ended there. However when Deb swiped the $60 WINZ credit card, it declined the transaction. “The card hadn’t been loaded. There was no money on it. It was embarrassing and distressing,” says Deb. “Blimmin’ fantastic isn’t it?”

Cue the Samaritan again. “I will pay for all your groceries, I can pay, she said. I would like to pay. I said I can’t let you do that. But she absolutely insisted and so she paid the entire bill.” Deb just stood there in shock. “I was thinking we would have to go another day without food, we’d just have to manage. And up steps this woman. She didn’t know me and she didn’t know my circumstances. She didn’t know anything about me, but she was happy to cover my bill.”

Then the Samaritan disappeared from Deb’s life as quickly and generously as she had entered it. “She just did it out of the goodness of her heart and she wasn’t expecting thanks. She just decided this was what she wanted to do. And despite all the evil, nasty things happening in the world at the moment, there are some good, good people.”

Now Deb intends passing on the goodwill. “I am going to spend the money on some biscuits, snacks and treats and put them in the charity box. When you are budgeting and need help you get baked beans, soup and pasta. There are rarely treats.”

So, on the back of the spontaneous and anonymous goodwill, Deb intends to treat some people.

“She may go home and tell people she did a nice thing or she may not. I hope someone may see The Weekend Sun story and say to her, look here’s your thank you. I just hope she gets to hear of our gratitude.”

Are you the Good Samaritan or do you know the Good Samaritan? Email

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She's a lovely lady too

Posted on 10-10-2017 14:09 | By Papamoaner

If she wasn’t such a nice humble person, she wouldn’t have gone public on her gratitude. And she did it with dignity.


Posted on 08-10-2017 18:42 | By morepork

You have a right to an opinion and this is certainly the place to express it. But the outrage you provoked is justified. Do you think that your judgmental and ill-informed (you DON’T know the circumstances) comment actually helps anyone? It isn’t helpful to advocate planned parenthood in a case where the kids have already arrived... Here’s another idea: "One day that person might be me. If I can help, I SHOULD help. EVEN IF THE PERSON BEING HELPED, DOESN’T DESERVE IT, OR IT IS ENTIRELY A SELF-INFLICTED WOUND! The fact is that Kiwis who need help should get it, and all of us should be part of it. I am NOT advocating that you let people rip you off or bludge off you, as a way of life; merely saying:"Help first, then look at fixing things." And try to reserve judgement on others until you yourself are perfect...


Posted on 08-10-2017 13:55 | By Colleen Spiro

Using the statement, don’t have children, if you can’t afford them is the HEIGHT OF IGNORANCE. She may have been happily married when she first had children, her partner may have died....GOODNESS....think about it.


Posted on 08-10-2017 12:32 | By Capt_Kaveman

Selfish lol far from it, i brought a unit in Cebu for a poor family and also give to an orphanage thats supports 4 6yr olds, + im moving house and just gave away prob 2k of house hold items, selfish dont think so


Posted on 08-10-2017 08:53 | By Papamoaner

I reckon that’s judgemental and simplistic. People have kids for all kinds of different reasons. And circumstances change too, with some people unexpectedly becoming solo parents, ill prepared for it.

@ Capt_Kaveman

Posted on 08-10-2017 08:28 | By astex

Obviously you ARE NOT the good Samaritan. Rarely does a comment in this forum make my blood boil but you really hit the spot with yours. You have NO IDEA about this poor woman’s situation or how she reached this point in her life. You live in your own selfish world tarring everyone with the same brush, oblivious to the fact that events in life can leave any one of us in her situation. Get a life, open your eyes, and show some compassion for others. There is NO PLACE in this world for such a nasty twisted view as yours. I was always taught that if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything.

Neat story

Posted on 07-10-2017 20:58 | By Papamoaner

We tend to forget the world is full of nice people, but they don’t always stand out like the rest.


Posted on 07-10-2017 20:21 | By Capt_Kaveman

why you dont have children unless you can afford to support them

Great story, made my day.

Posted on 07-10-2017 17:39 | By morepork

I firmly believe in the basic kindness of people because I have experienced it all over the world. (And I do try to be a part of it). At a time when all we see on the news is the dark side, and the horrors of war and natural disasters, an item like this is a light in the darkness. It isn’t ALL doom and gloom; there has to be hope for us yet... Thanks to Sun Live for covering this.