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Texas Supermarket Lets Shoppers Leave With Free Groceries After Power Outage

If there has been anything more surprising about how awful the situation in Texas got following a serious winter storm and cold snap, it's how much worse it all could have been.

It's hard to imagine when seeing pictures of shelters swamped with water from broken pipes, icicles hanging from ceilings indoors, and an apartment block burning down because firefighters had no water pressure to fight the blaze with, but as the Texas Tribune reported, the power outages came within minutes of becoming a "monthslong" ordeal.

And it all would have been even worse had Texans not come together to help each other out.

Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B is receiving praise for the way it helped out Texans in need during the crisis.

For Texans, it might not come as a big surprise, as the grocer has a solid reputation for going above and beyond for their shoppers.

But the rest of the nation is learning what a treasure the state has after one particular incident at a franchise in Leander, Texas, went viral, showing what a difference H-E-B made for a lot of families during a trying time.

As happened all across the state, the H-E-B in question lost power in the middle of the day.

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With a store full of shoppers all pushing loaded carts ahead of a winter wallop, the lights went out.

And as anybody who's ever been in a store when the power went out knows, it's an awkward situation for everyone involved — everyone does what they can, waiting to see if the lights will come back on, but in the meantime, there's not much the store can do to let their customers make their purchases.

Among those in the store that day were Tim and Deb Hennessy.

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As Tim shared on Facebook, he and Deb just kind of kept loading up their cart until it became apparent that power wasn't coming back on anytime soon, and an employee approached.

"Sure enough, about 10-15 minutes later one of the HEB employees asked us to head to the check out area and said: 'we'll check everyone out as quickly as we can as we have a process for these kinds of things,'" Hennessy wrote.

At first, it seemed like the checkout process would be an ordeal.

Hennessy wrote that there were about 10 full carts in front of them, and "probably several hundred people waiting to be checked out."

With no power for the registers, things were not moving quickly: "We waited in line for about 15-20 minutes and barely moved up 1-2 slots," Hennessy wrote.

"Then all of a sudden we started moving faster."

Much to their surprise, the line wasn't moving quickly all of a sudden because the power came back on.

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"Please go ahead but we can’t bag anything up for you," the cashier told Hennessy when he and his wife reached the checkout.

"At first, Deb and I were a bit confused and I asked: 'How or who do we pay for our groceries?'" Hennessy wrote. "We probably had a couple of hundred dollars worth of groceries. She said: 'Just go ahead and be safe driving home.' Then we noticed the lines of people after the checkout stands proceeding with full carts of groceries all being directed out the store with many employees there to greet us on our way out."

Needless to say, Tim and Deb were moved by the store's gesture.

"Deb began tearing up which always gets me teared up too - as we could not believe the generosity of H.E.B. and the kindness of that wonderful gesture," Hennessy wrote.

"They could just as easily [have] asked us all to leave the store as soon as the power went out and asked us to just leave the groceries in the carts. But instead, they allowed people to continue to shop for another 10-15 minutes after the power went out and then let everyone leave the store without so much as a single dollar being asked for from the hundreds of people leaving the store."

Hennessy added that the kindness the store showed started to be paid forward immediately as he watched strangers help each other load up their cars in the parking lot.

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"This is the America that I know. Despite all the negative we hear/see being reported daily in the news. America and most Americans are still kind, thoughtful, generous, and caring," Hennessy wrote.

"I salute H.E.B. for the kindness they showed us, the thoughtfulness they showed us, the generosity they showed us, and the caring that they showed us (along with the other hundreds of fellow Texans in the store at that time)."

h/t: Facebook | TR Henny, News 4 San Antonio