Stranger steps up to help Rhode Island mom pay for little girl's birthday gift

(Photo: WJAR)

WARWICK, R.I. (WJAR) – An unexpected act of kindness at Kohl's.

A West Warwick mom found herself in a tough situation when she went to buy her daughter a birthday gift but a stranger stepped in to help.

A little more than a week ago, Mikalina O'Connor of West Warwick went shopping at Kohl's on Bald Hill Road. She was eager to pick out a birthday gift for her daughter, Christine Greene, who was turning one.

"She had a twenty-five dollar gift card that was given to her as a gift and we came here and I was hoping to get her something nice," said O'Connor.

O'Connor said her daughter loves Minnie and Mickey Mouse. They picked out a toy shopping carriage, and got in line with a real one.

"I'm holding my wallet with the gift card as I'm about to approach the gift card, I go to pull the gift card I realized that I dropped it," she said. "I turned around, I asked, 'Did anyone find a gift card that says 'baby' on it?' She was screaming in the stroller, I was trying to calm her down. That's when it must have slipped."

She searched high and low asking everyone in line if they'd seen it.

"I was like shoot this is embarrassing. I have no method of payment on me," she said.

O'Connor said money is tight and that toy would be the only one her daughter would get for her birthday.

"My husband works full-time, I'm a stay at home mom and I take care of my grandparents 94 and 96 years old. And we were only able to get her a little piggy bank and water spout type toy for the tub and that was it," she said. "I was going to use that card to buy an actual toy for her, one she would enjoy."

Unexpectedly, a stranger and his wife stepped forward.

"He came up behind me, ripped it out of my hands, and was like, 'Give it to me, we're paying for it,'" said O'Connor. "I was upset and bummed out and then he just came up behind me and turned that mood from being upset to being immediately like, 'Oh, my gosh, wow, you're really nice.'"

"They gave me the gift receipt and then they were just like, 'Here's this toy for your daughter. We're not going to let her go without,' and that's when I looked at him and said, 'Thank you so much, that was her birthday gift.'"

After processing what had happened, she took things a step further by posting about the act of kindness in a West Warwick Community Facebook group.

"I didn't want his act of kindness to go unknown. I was hoping by posting on Facebook people would do their thing and find him," she said.

It worked.

Rick Caron of West Warwick responded.

"No need to thank me, Mikalina. I would hope someone would do it for me also but happy birthday to your daughter. You are very welcome," wrote Caron.

O'Connor said her daughter had yet to put the toy down.

NBC 10 News spoke to Caron who wasn't available to talk on camera. He said he enjoys helping people and he'd do it again in a heart beat.

"It meant so much," said O'Connor. "There's more good in people than we think."