If 2020 has shown anything, it’s that we should value our essential workers. The first responders, health care workers, delivery people, and the people working in grocery or drug stores, keep the world running and safe so that everyone else can stay at home and limit the spread of coronavirus.

While some of them may not make a lot of money, they are doing an incredibly meaningful job and we simply couldn’t survive without them.

One Walgreens employee took her commitment up a notch and did something even more admirable in these difficult times.

The customer forgot her wallet

Rita Jackson Burns is a cashier at a Walgreens located in Houston. She is known not only for being good at her job, but spreading kindness and just being a good person that inspires others to be good as well.

Her kindness reached new heights in early September when Rina Liou visited the store. Rina was in a rush to get back to work and just needed to buy some lightbulbs – and then hit a hurdle.

“I’m just going to make a dash to Walgreens. And I never go there,” Liou told MSN. “I go there and I get my light bulbs. And when I went to pay, my heart just sank.”

Liou forgot her wallet and she grabbed her husband’s phone accidentally instead of her own.

I’m like, shaking. Trying to figure out Apple Pay. Couldn’t figure it out.

That’s when Rita stepped in. “I said, I will go ahead and pay for it, for you,” said Rita. “I just was a little short on funds.”

Rita gave her last $20, no question asked

Seeing Liou in such a hurdle, Rita, who was the cashier at the time, decided to pay for her…with her last $20.

She really needed it so I just looked up at God and said, I guess I’m going to do it.

Rita Jackson Burns

She prayed her finances would all work out as she swiped her debit card to cover $12.41. Liou was incredible touched by her kindness. After all, they were strangers.

She saved me. I couldn’t believe that a stranger would do that for another stranger. Like, she didn’t know me. I didn’t have to come back.

Rina Liou

As soon as Liou was done with work that evening, she grabbed her wallet and returned to the Walgreens. She paid Rita back and as a thank you — gave her a little extra.

Rita’s generosity did not go unnoticed

Liou was still so moved by Rita’s generosity that she shared her experience on the Nextdoor neighborhood app. “And I couldn’t believe all the comments,” she said.

It turns out Rita already had a reputation for her incredible character.

“Rita is the happiest, best employee that Walgreen’s has to offer in normal circumstances,” wrote Meg.

“Rita is the best!! She is such a lovely person and always remembers me by name and always asks how my mom is doing,” shared Renee.

“I agree with everyone. Wonderful comments about Rita,” wrote Leslie. “She is amazing and puts a smile on my face each time I go into Walgreen’s. She has watched our kids grow up over the past 20+ years. She asks about them every time.

Kristy from Woodside: Ms. Rita is the BEST! Love that lady!”

This led to group of neighbors to create a GoFundMe page: Gratitude for Ms. Rita.

Originally, the GoFundMe had a goal of $5,000. But they reached that within 24 hours. So they raised the goal to $8,000. Today, they have reached over $10 000 and raised the end goal to $12 000.

Rita Jackson Burns is a Houston native and has worked at the same Walgreens for 38 years.  She really does feel that joy and sense of welcome every time she greets a customer.

“Melissa! They’re my people,” Rita said to KHOU11 News Reporter Melissa Correa during a Zoom interview. “You come in and say, hey Rita! I’ll be like, hey Melissa! You’ll be like, Hey Rita!”

She treats every client with kindness

For Rita, the human contact part of her job is important. She wants to brighten the day of her customers, no matter how small or short-lived the interaction is.

And I try to ease their tension too. You know, how you doing today. I just try to find something to talk to them about. To get them off their mind, maybe, just for a minute.

“I try to treat people the way I want to be treated,” Rita continued.

Make the world a better place

It’s people like this that make a world a better place. “Humanity is greater than your job occupation, your status,” said Liou.

Rita has shown that no matter what our occupation is, we can all make the world a better place, simply by starting with how we treat the people we come in contact with.

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