A mother who simply extended an act of kindness is now getting more attention than she ever expected.
On November 29th Stark County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Greene and Stark County Sheriff’s Detective, Rebecca Greene stopped by a Chipotle restaurant in Canton after working a nearby holiday event.
As they were standing in line getting ready to pay for their meal, the woman ahead of them told the cashier that she’d like to cover theirs.
“She didn’t say anything to us and she was getting ready to leave and I stopped her and thanked her very much,” explained Deputy Greene. “I asked her if I could take a picture to remember somebody that was gracious and wanting to purchase our food.”
Although a bit hesitant, the woman agreed to take the photo and shortly after tears ran down her face.
Deputy Greene explained, “She went on to explain to us that just that day she’d learned that her son’s cancer may be back.”
Both deputies hugged her and talked with her a bit more before the woman hurried out the door.
“Afterward I just could not get over the act of kindness that she had shown us with everything that she had going on in her life,” said Deputy Greene.
He reached out to Sheriff George T. Maier and the office’s Public Information Officer and received the okay to post the photo they had taken that night to the office’s Facebook page in hopes of identifying the woman that left a lasting impression.
Within an hour the Stark County community identified the woman as Erin Wise of Massillon.
Officials made contact with Erin and learned more about her 4-year-old son, Teagen’s diagnosis.
Just shy of his second birthday, Teagen was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. He was declared cancer free this past June, but Wise explained the day she met the deputies the hospital notified her of new spots on Teagen’s scans.
With obstacles ahead and the emotions Wise was dealing with in that moment, she said she needed to feel a bit of happiness and to her, giving back was the way to do that.
“We always try and give back as much as we possibly can,” she said. “So many special angels have given to us over these last three years and we wouldn’t be in the position that we are in currently if it wasn’t for these special angels.”
Wise added that she was completely taken back when she learned the Stark County Sheriff’s Office was looking for her.
“I just wanted to do something nice I didn’t need them to do anything to say thank you,” explained Erin. “They both said thank you that night, and that was more than enough for me.”
But, it wasn’t enough for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
The entire Stark County Sheriff’s Office team became inspired to pay it forward and to ensure Wise new how grateful they were for her kind heart.
“The whole incident just weighed on me after that,” added Deputy Greene. “I just could not get over the fact that somebody going through their own personal struggle would still show an act of kindness like that. I just felt like I needed to repay that act of kindness with another act of kindness.”
On Monday, December 4th, the Sheriff’s Office reached out to Wise to invite her entire family to the upcoming Shop with a Sheriff event.
“I cried,” explained Wise. “Sometimes I feel like when we give to others we don’t want anything in return and that the more important part for us is just to be able to give and to teach the kids that kindness inspires kindness in others.”
And that is just what her act of kindness did for Deputy Greene and Detective Greene and the entire Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
On Saturday, December 16th, Teagen and his older sister, 6-year-old Sydney, will partner up with Deputy Greene and Detective Greene where they’ll have breakfast with Santa and then participate in the 2017 Shop with a Sheriff event at Walmart in Canton.