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Ambulance worker in tears after groceries paid for by a generous stranger

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Ambulance worker Hayley Hylands

Ambulance worker Hayley Hylands

Ambulance worker Hayley Hylands

An ambulance worker who was reduced to tears by the kindness of a stranger who paid for her shopping in Tesco has issued an appeal to find him.

Hayley Hylands (30), a single mum to six-year-old twins Hayden and Heidi, was so overwhelmed by the generous gesture last Sunday that she did not get the man's name.

As well as paying over £50 for her food, which included Easter eggs for her two children, the man presented the young medic with a large chocolate egg for herself.

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Hayley at work

Hayley at work

Hayley at work

Moved to tears by the compassion shown by the stranger, Hayley, who lives in Waringstown, is now hoping to find him so that she can show her appreciation.

She said: "I was working on Sunday and we were just given our meal break and I decided to pop into Tesco for a few things so that I didn't have to take the kids there on Monday.

"I had put all my stuff through the checkout and had lifted my purse to pay and this man suddenly appeared and asked me to step back.

"I moved back and the next thing I knew he had his card out and said he was paying for my groceries which had come to £50.30. I was in tears and so was the guy behind the checkout.

"I tried to say no but the man insisted. My whole body was shaking and I told him there were Easter eggs there for my wee ones and he just replied, 'That's fine they can be from me'.

"I was gobsmacked and I had shivers down my spine. I was lifting my groceries and he appeared again and presented me with a large Easter egg which he said was for me.

"I've never felt like that in my life. No one has ever made me feel like that and it is so encouraging to be noticed by a stranger. I was so shaken I didn't even get his name and I would love to reach out to him now and thank him."

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Hayley with her children Heidi and Hayden

Hayley with her children Heidi and Hayden

Hayley with her children Heidi and Hayden

Like most other frontline medical staff, Hayley - who works for a private ambulance service attached to the NHS - has had her usual eight hours shifts extended to a minimum of 10.5 hours.

She has had to bring some suspected Covid-19 patients to hospital and said that, like the rest of her colleagues, she is frightened going to work every day but wouldn't have it any other way.

She admitted: "It has got to the stage when I just have to leave my fear at my front door and I just have to go and get on with it.

"We are fully suited and booted. We have body suits, face masks, visors and gloves and I am sure we must look frightening to our patients, as all you can see is our eyes.

"We have brought a few people who had suspected Covid-19 to hospital and you can tell they are scared."

Juggling her work with two young kids has been tough and to protect them Hayley showers as soon as she returns from a shift before giving them their usual hugs.

The appreciation shown by the man in Tesco and the general public to her and other front line colleagues does, she said, make a huge difference.

She added: "I think it has taken this for care workers, nurses, doctors, ambulance staff, cleaners and all NHS staff to be appreciated. Everyone fears for their lives going into work. Up until this virus outbreak out health service was completely abused.

"I really admire all my colleagues for their hard work and determination and I just hope everyone will stay safe and take care.

"It does help to know that everybody is behind us and for someone to do what the kind gentleman did for me on Sunday certainly helps me when I am leaving my children to go into work."

Belfast Telegraph