'I just noticed one of our customers needed a hand'... Belfast Lidl worker pulls out his wallet to pay for OAP's groceries
A big-hearted supermarket worker who paid for an elderly man's shopping has spoken of his surprise after news of his act of kindness went viral.
David Vance (35), a customer assistant at Lidl's Connswater branch in east Belfast for the past four years, came to the aid of the pensioner on Tuesday after his card was declined.
After quietly paying for the shopping with his own money, the unassuming Mr Vance continued with his shift.
The touching moment was witnessed by Belfast woman Karen Gibney (43), who shared it on her Facebook page.
The news then spread, with hundreds of other people adding their praise.
"I was at the queue and it was taking a bit longer than usual," Karen told the Belfast Telegraph.
"I saw the till assistant call a colleague over.
"There was an older man who was trying to pay and just didn't understand his card was being declined.
"I don't think he understood a whole lot of what was going on in general.
"The guy came over and tried to help him with his card and it didn't work.
"He just took out his wallet and said, 'That's fine, put that through'. The older customer went on his way, thinking he had paid for his shopping.
"The guy just carried on as normal, having just paid for this man's stuff.
"I think that he just wanted to spare this man any embarrassment.
"His brother has actually been in touch with me to say thank you.
"He told me that he was very humble and didn't want anyone to see.
"My mum has been smiling all day after thinking about it as it's such a nice thing.
"He's given his own wages to someone he didn't know who didn't seem to understand the situation. It's a lovely thing."
Of the huge response to the story online, she added: "I guess in this day and age it's lovely to hear about such an act of kindness."
Among the online comments was one from Sharleen Grimsley, who wrote: "It's wee things like this that restore my faith in people. Brilliant form."
Aine MacParland added: "It does your heart good to hear stories like this when those at the top of the social pyramid are motivated by greed, self-interest, power lust and indifference to human suffering."
When the Belfast Telegraph contacted Lidl, Mr Vance responded to say he was shocked by the reaction.
"I love my job and colleagues and every day is different, but it's a pleasure to serve all our customers in a busy Connswater store," he explained.
"I enjoy the customer-facing part of my role, especially when they might need a little help.
"I didn't think I did anything out of the ordinary. I just noticed one of our regular customers needed a hand.
"I was a bit taken aback to hear about the Facebook post and the traction it got.
"I don't even have Facebook myself.
"It was lovely for someone to take the time to post the story, but I am just happy that I was able to do something nice for a loyal customer."
Lidl added: "At Lidl customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything that we do.
"David is a fantastic ambassador for our business.
"We were delighted to see David's actions be recognised by a customer on our Facebook page.
"We are making David our customer service champion for October.
"David's professionalism and focus on delivering exceptional customer service is second to none. We are proud to have him as part of our team."