by Eric Webb, Austin 360

“All of the sudden the power goes out, and you hear curse words and people sighing.” Sound familiar? It’s a scene that’s played out in homes across Texas. But this time, it was at the H-E-B Plus on U.S. 183, says Shelby Lasker. 

Lasker, who lives in Leander and works in childcare, said she was at the grocery store Tuesday afternoon when the power went out. She was there hoping to get supplies as winter storms wrought havoc in the Austin area.  

It wasn’t as crowded as some of the worst pictures people have seen on social media this week, but still, the store was busy. Lasker had been in line for about 30 minutes and was 10 people away from checking out when everything went dark. That included the payment terminals, and as Lasker points out, a lot of people don’t pay for groceries with cash these days. 

But Lasker didn’t leave empty-handed.  

“You just hear (people at) registers say, ‘Go ahead,” she says. The Leander H-E-B staff let the people in line “leave with baskets of groceries, no bags.” Lasker says she saw probably 20-30 people leave with baskets of supplies.  

“I think they could tell how upset people were,” she says.

The water shelves were bare at H-E-B in the Circle C neighborhood in Southwest Austin. Jay Janner/American-Statesman

The Washington Post reports that customers were spurred to kindness of their own that day. Tim Hennessy, a customer whose post about the Leander H-E-B’s generosity also went viral, told the news outlet that people helped each other as carts and cars got stuck in the snow in the parking lot that afternoon. 

“Everybody started helping each other,” Hennessy told the Post, also adding that he called H-E-B on Friday to ask about the company’s preferred charities, wanting to pay forward the cost he would have spent on his groceries.




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