July 2, 2014 at 10:53 AM ET
Carol Flynn saw a mom in need at her local Walmart store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so she stepped in to help. It was a random act of kindness, a private moment between the two women, but a watching stranger caught the scene on video in a clip that immediately went viral.
No one is more surprised than Flynn. On Sunday night, she saw the young woman at the checkout stand remove three of the four large boxes of diapers in her shopping cart and put them aside because the store wouldn’t price-match the items. (The mom had seen the diapers advertised for a lower price at another store, but Walmart would only match the cheaper cost for the first box.)
Flynn, 73, placed the three boxes back in the mom's cart and paid for them.
“I thought, ‘If she needs diapers, she must have a little one.’ Little ones are close to your heart when you’re a grandmother,” Flynn told TODAY.com.
The mother tried politely to decline the help, but Flynn said she knew she could make the $120 purchase, so she did.
“Not that I’m wealthy or have a lot of money, but I certainly could afford to do that, so it was kind of an easy thing to do,” said the retired March of Dimes state director.
Flynn paid for the diapers, and then for her own items.
“I walked out the door and I figured it was over with. I had no clue somebody was videoing it,” she said.
But Jason Yoshino, a Sioux Falls resident behind the women, captured the scene on his smartphone after he and his wife “ran to Walmart real quick to grab a few things,” he noted in the clip he posted on his Facebook page.
The video has been since been liked more than 17,500 times and shared at least 4,700 times since Yoshino posted it on June 30.
“My wife and I were speechless at this warmhearted and kind act of generosity. There are some amazing people in this world. What a way to end such a beautiful day to witness such an amazing act of kindness,” he wrote. “To whomever the older lady that helped this young girl [is], I hope this finds you.”
And it did find Flynn after the video caught the attention of a friend who works at the local paper, the Argus Leader, who wrote a column about it.
At the receiving act of Flynn's gesture was Katie Kanefke, a stay-at-home mom with a 4-month-old son. She told the Leader that she had hoped to get a price break on the diapers because she and her husband have a strict monthly budget. However, Walmart's price-match deal only applied to the first 148-count box.
"I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I kept saying thank you and God bless you," Kanefke told the paper. “Then I walked out in the parking lot and started crying. It just hit me. It was an awesome statement of what God's love does."
Kanefke said she definitely plans to pay the act of kindness forward. Meanwhile, Flynn said she’s been overwhelmed by all the attention she has received.
“It’s a little embarrassing. You think you’ve done it and you go on your way and that’s OK.
“People seem to be wanting to hear positive things, so maybe that’s why," she added. "There’s a lot going on in the world that isn’t very positive, but I also have to believe that there are many things like this that we don’t know about it.”