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Target cashier's patience with elderly customer inspires others

Target cashier Ishmael Gilbert, 19, is being recognized for his kindness to an elderly customer after a Facebook post by a mother in line caught his good deed.
/ Source: TODAY

A Target cashier's simple act of kindness has shown that, sometimes, just slowing down and showing patience can make all the difference.

Ishmael Gilbert, 19, was working at a Target in the Glendale section of Indianapolis on Jan. 12 when his kind gesture toward an elderly woman caught the eye of a mom in line with her children.

In a widely-shared Facebook post, Sarah Owen Bigler admitted she was initially frustrated when she saw the woman counting coins for her payment — until she saw the care Gilbert was taking in helping her out.

"I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands,'' Bigler wrote. "I listened to him repeatedly saying 'yes, mam' to her.

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"When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind."

What started as an exasperating moment during a busy day with her children became a teachable moment, she said.

"As I was watching him, I saw that Eloise was too,'' she wrote. "She was standing next to the woman, watching the employee count the change. I realized I hadn't been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson."

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Bigler made sure to find the manager to compliment Gilbert's treatment of the woman and its impact on her daughter.

Gilbert, who had been working at the store for less than a week, later gave Eloise a hug.

It's the type of example Gilbert looks to set for his own 1-year-old daughter, Namya.

"It just feels good to be recognized for good work," Gilbert told The Indianapolis Star. "But this isn't something new. I treat all customers the same, the way I want to be treated."

GIlbert's kindness prompted a message on Facebook from his proud mother, Aimee Smith Gilbert, who also thanked BIgler for recognizing his actions.

"As I looked at my son I was proud to be his mother and know that my hard work and effort was worth it,'' she wrote. "I have always tried my best to raise my children to respect everyone no matter their race, age or gender. Keep encouraging our youth and they will inspire others to do and be their best."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.