DESTIN— A small act of kindness on a cold and rainy Saturday night led to a blossoming friendship and a Christmas miracle.
Inside of the Destin Walmart, Gina Martin met Jequan Ward, a Hurlburt Field senior airman.
Ward was buying gifts for his fiance’s 2-year-old son. He was purchasing a green and black tricycle and a PAW Patrol toy.
Martin was waiting in line behind him and noticed that one of the boxes he was holding looked heavy and awkward.
She began making room in her own basket to hold the toy. When she offered to hold the box, he declined.
But he was so touched by her offer, that Ward decided to purchase everything in Martin’s basket.
"I think it was really her kindness and just the way it touched me," Ward said.
Martin had recently returned from Virginia, where she was visiting her sister who is in hospice care for Alzheimer’s. This visit had been the first time her sister didn’t recognize her, so Martin wasn’t feeling much Christmas spirit.
After Ward paid it forward, Martin said she started crying and described the encounter as her "Christmas Miracle."
"It touched my heart," she said.
The two exchanged numbers, and Ward said he would pray for her and her family. Ward also said he planned to call her every year on Christmas.
"It was Christmas hope and the true meaning of Christmas," Martin said. "He was my Christmas hope."