After Teen Cashier Helps Woman Pay Grocery Bill, Community Raises $30,000 for Him

John Lopez Jr. helped a woman in need
Courtesy Laci Simms

After word got out about John Lopez's kind gesture, people in Princeton, Texas, rallied to get him the recognition he deserved.

After a 19-year-old cashier helped a customer in need, his Texas community returned the generosity.

John Lopez Jr. was working at Walmart in Princeton on Dec. 17 when a woman realized she was unable to pay her $110 grocery bill. Another shopper behind her took note as Lopez offered to buy the woman’s groceries.

“When she had trouble paying her bill he stepped in and told her if she'd wait he would pay her total,” Laci Simms, the shopper who witnessed the interaction, wrote on Facebook. "Ya'll, it was $110 dollars!"

Simms encouraged other shoppers to seek out John, who is "always singing, up beat, courteous, joyful and efficient," and added: "He just renewed my faith in humanity and the generation we are raising!"

When she shared the story, along with Lopez's photo, it swiftly went viral. Her Facebook post has since been liked more than 4,000 times and shared more than 3,000 times.

The story also caught the eye of Brandon Weddle, who lives in the area and recognized the young cashier as he scrolled through Facebook.

“There were thousands of comments on the story,” Weddle told Monday. “Saying what a nice person he was, how he was always in a good mood, how people always left in a better mood after seeing him.

"I’ve been through his line a couple of times, my wife has too, and we’ve spoken about him, how he touches people on a daily basis.”

After reading the post, Weddle said he couldn’t stop thinking about the young man's incredible act of kindness.

“It just resonated with me the whole next day,” he said. “I’d asked on Facebook if anyone had set up a page for him, but there wasn’t one. With it only just being a few days before Christmas, I decided to set up a page for him.”

Weddle's initial goal on the GoFundMe page was $1,000, but donors reached that within a few hours. After CBS 11 shared the story, “it just really blew up,” Weddle said. “I had to keep pumping up the goal for him.”

The page had raised $31,000 as of Monday.

A Walmart manager also contacted him about a special event to honor Lopez. On Friday, Princeton Mayor John-Mark Caldwell presented the teenager with a certificate, and Police Chief James Waters presented him with a medallion. Weddle also transferred the Gofundme account to the cashier, who says he will use the money for college.

Weddle said the young man was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

“He was very excited and you could tell it meant a lot to him and his family. You know it’s going to a good family,” Weddle said. “I’m just glad that he got recognized this year, and I’m glad the community stepped up to help him.”

Weddle says he thinks people were simply touched by what a kind person Lopez is.

“Someone working as a cashier in Walmart might not make the most money in the world to help someone, but he still did it," he said.

Simms, who shared the original post to Facebook, agreed.

"Seeing a stranger help another stranger is how we should act as humans," she told "I really feel like the world would be a better place if we just helped others, just like John did. He helped without reservation and judgement!"

But speaking to CBS 11, Lopez said he just acted the way his parents had taught him.

“I make it my goal to at least in one way make someone smile,” he said.