H-E-B clerk rewarded after paying stranger's bill

LAKE JACKSON, Texas – There was nothing unusual about what Jake Pate did, according to him. He didn’t expect a reward and he thought no one was watching.

It was two days before Christmas at the H-E-B in Lake Jackson. Pate, who has worked there as a clerk since January, realized one woman didn’t have enough money to cover her groceries.

“So Jake reached in his pocket, pulled his wallet out said don’t worry about it, swiped his card and said Merry Christmas,” said Ryan Birdsong, who was standing a few customers back.
“So I took a quick picture of him and put in on Facebook,” Birdsong said. “Just trying to give him some acknowledgment. And it kind of went crazy from there.” 

At last check, more than 85,000 people have liked the post and more than 32,000 have shared it.

“I had no idea. I was just going about my day,” Pate said. “All of a sudden, I’m all over Facebook, and it’s like this whole big thing.”

Shannon Whitley found out about it and the Taylor Whitley SHOW UP scholarship foundation, set up in honor of her late husband,  awarded Pate a $500 scholarship. 

“We wanted to recognize him and also encourage him to continue to show up for others,” Whitley said.

“Personally, I think it’s undeserved attention,” Pate said, adding that the woman he helped had just helped pay for someone else’s groceries!

“Because she did something good, I felt like it was my responsibility to return the favor,” Pate said. “You know, in the spirit of doing good.”

Some call it the spirit of Christmas, the idea that kindness matters, and multiplies.

“Just keep it going, you know,” Pate said.