As a single mum trying to navigate the rising cost of living, Ree has been feeling "stressed and upset" most days, with the battle only intensified by personal issues.
With a grocery shop looming, Ree told Yahoo News Australia she was feeling anxious at the prospect of making ends meet before visiting her local Woolworths store on Sunday in Gosford, NSW.
However, two strangers' patience while she discarded several items at the checkout because she "couldn't afford" them truly made all the difference.
"The checkout lady was amazingly calm with me [as I] asked to 'put this back' or said 'I won't get this' ... She was so kind about it," Ree said.
Thankful for the checkout worker's understanding, Ree was utterly "stunned" by what another customer did next.
"The lady behind me asked the cashier to ring up everything I had put back because she was going to pay for them for me," she said. "I walked out crying."
Stranger 'insistent' on helping mum at check out
After thanking the stranger and explaining that payment wasn't "necessary", Ree was told the stranger was "insistent" on buying the discarded items for her.
"I explained my situation to her and she said she knew how it felt to not be able to pay for things in the past."
In a time of emotional strife the stranger's kind act has had a profound impact on Ree — one that she struggles to articulate.
When asked what it meant to her, she simply replied with one word: "Everything".
"From the bottom of my heart thank you for making a truly awful situation so much easier in the moment."
How to save on your grocery bill
Savvy Aussie shoppers are going to new and innovative lengths to shave some money off their weekly grocery bills, and often that means avoiding the big supermarket giant like Coles and Woolies, and looking for alternatives such as farmer's markets, buying unconventional produce, even using specialised delivery services.
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