Mystery holiday hero paid our $275 Target bill

Anonymous man spreads joy with the random swipe of a card.

Anonymous man spreads joy with the random swipe of a card.

After a leisurely afternoon, my girlfriend and I choked down a nightcap of errand running Sunday. Upon finishing my disproportionately small share of the load (hey, I cooked), I made my way to the Target store in downtown Minneapolis, where Saara was more than an hour in to an intense grocery-and-gift shopping spree.

Assured she’s almost done, I parked and waited an eternity — at least 90 seconds — in the car while she checked out. Another grueling 90 seconds went by before Saara texted me: “Something insane just happened to me.”

Insanity, ay? How crazy can things get in Target? I assumed it was a busted register or a drunk trying to pay in change.

As Saara unloaded her cart packed with groceries, gifts for family, and a few to donate onto the conveyor belt, she noticed a man in his 30s or 40s standing near the end of her lane. Distracted by the realization she forgot an essential Puppy Chow ingredient, the man’s presence barely registered as he stood silently wearing a hoodie and with earbuds stuffed in his ears.

Saara raced to Chex retrieval run. When she got back, the cashier rang up the last of her massive haul. The $275 Target tab — after coupons, mind you — had set a personal record. It was a significant chunk of change to be written off under holiday cheer. She went to pay. 

No need, said the cashier. He put it on his card.

“Who put it on his card?!” Saara quizzically asked.

The silent knight-in-shining sweatshirt suddenly came forward, handed her the receipt, and vanished into the cloak of the brightly lit department store.

“I was too shocked to move,” Saara recalls. “I didn’t process what happened until he was heading out of the store.”

The cashier one lane over chimed in, noting the same guy tried to pay another shopper’s bill a minute earlier.

A casually dressed hero walks among us, Minneapolis. He desires no praise, no recognition for his card-swiping good deeds. We hope he’s racking up tons of frequent flyer miles, though.

Tonight as we reheat the taco meat he altruistically paid for, we will raise a shell in his honor, dear bringer of seasonal joy. Thank you for being awesome.