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Coborn's cashier pays it forward

Kim Nyberg selflessly paid for a customer's groceries when the woman misplaced her cash. Michelle Wirth / RiverTown Multimedia

Local resident Tracey Johnson received a big surprise at a recent visit to Coborn's. She couldn't believe the kindness she received from Coborn's employee, Kim Nyberg.

Johnson had left her purse at home that day and couldn't pay for her groceries. Instead of leaving empty handed, Johnson said that Nyberg whipped out her own check card and paid for the groceries.

Johnson couldn't believe it.

"I just think that is completely above and beyond anything that is expected of her at her job and I think people a lot of times are crabby at work and it is so wonderful to see someone who is just selfless," Johnson said.

Johnson had taken a different car to work Jan. 23. It was the day after most of the Twin Cities and surrounding area received more than 10 inches of snowfall.

Being that she had taken a different car to work that day, she had forgotten her purse at home. She needed to pick up some dinner for her family so her coworker lent her a $20 bill. Johnson brought her groceries which included chicken, potato salad and some tea to the counter at Little Duke's. The total was just under $20 because that was all she had at the time, but when she went to take the cash out of her pocket, she couldn't find it.

She set her groceries aside and went to look for the cash that she thought had fallen out of her pocket. She returned to the counter to let Nyberg know she would have to come back. That's when Nyberg took out her own card for payment.

Nyberg said she recognized Johnson as a regular customer and decided to buy it for her. She wanted to make sure Johnson would be able to get her family dinner that evening.

"I don't have a lot of money, but it's like, why not," she said

Nyberg has been working at Coborn's for about 10 years and it isn't the first time she has paid for a customers groceries. She once helped someone out with gas money and a couple years later they came into the store to pay her back.

Johnson also returned to pay Nyberg back. She even tried to give her a little extra as a thank you, but Nyberg made sure to give her back the exact change.

Nyberg said she doesn't pay for customer's groceries or gas in order to be recognized. It is to help them out. She said, if she is able to help out she doesn't see a reason not to.

"It will come back, some way, somehow," Nyberg said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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