FORT WAYNE — If Spencer McCard could talk to the stranger who gave him nearly $260 on Christmas Eve, he would first apologize for acting standoffish and apprehensive when the man pushed a plastic coffee container into his hands in a Walgreens parking lot.
After an apology, McCard, 18, said he would thank the man who made the generous donation.
“I don’t think he realizes how much he helped us,” he said. “My girlfriend really, really needed the money.”
McCard and his girlfriend had stopped at Walgreens at State Boulevard and Wells Street after dinner and church service Monday night. McCard said that after leaving the store, and performing a ritual of opening the car door for his girlfriend and giving her a quick kiss, a nicely dressed man approached.
The man, who McCard is pretty sure had a hook for one hand, tried to give him a coffee container, but McCard resisted. The stranger opened the lid to reveal cash and coins and told McCard he gives this gift each year.
After McCard accepted the gift, the man told him to have a merry Christmas, climbed into his black Hummer and drove off.
McCard said he and his girlfriend sat in the car, looking at the cash and coins for about 15 minutes.
“Everything looked legit,” he said.
The couple took the can home and showed his mom, Sandy McCard, who called Walgreens to see whether there were reports of any suspicious activity.
A Walgreens manager confirmed the story Wednesday that Sandy called and reported that her son had received money from a stranger. The manager on duty suggested she call police.
She did so about 9:30 p.m. Monday, according to police call logs, and was told her son must have looked like a good kid. The officer she spoke with said police receive a handful of these types of reports each year during the holiday season.
“It proves there are good people out there that want to help others get through these tough times,” Spencer McCard said.
McCard’s girlfriend will use the money, which totaled $259.27 mostly in coins, to buy books for college classes this semester.
McCard’s mother said she hopes the stranger hears about her son and his girlfriend and knows he helped someone in need.
“It was such a blessing that he did what he did,” she said.
She said her family had been praying for her son’s girlfriend, who was struggling to pay for her books. She’s a freshman at IPFW, where she earned a 4.0 grade-point average, and is working 40-hour weeks during her break to make money to pay for school, her boyfriend said.
“It’s so cool for someone working so hard to be rewarded this way,” he said.