Woman Tracks Down Stranger Who Hugged Her In The Saddest Moment Of Her Life

December 15, 2016

31-year-old Angel Mott from Des Moines was on a mission to find a stranger, but she didn't even know her name. All she knew is that the woman looked to be in her 30s and had purple hair.

And that this mystery woman was incredibly tender and compassionate.

good news woman finds stranger hug
Stephanie Uhlenberg and Angel Mott. Photo credit: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register

Mott was graced by the fellow shopper at 6:25 a.m. on Black Friday, just as she received a devastating phone call. Mott wasn't there on a shopping spree; she only needed a pair of dog beds for her German shepherds, especially her decrepit 12-year-old pooch, Killer, whose bones ache on her hardwood floors.

That's when the call came in from the nursing home on the south side of Des Moines where her mom lived.

"Angel, honey," said the nurse on the phone, "your mom passed away."

"I just kind of blacked out," Mott said, "and I just started crying uncontrollably. And I sat down on the shelves probably for about 5 minutes and just bawled."

The mystery woman encountered Mott and, instead of averting her gaze and breezing by, stopped and asked what was wrong.

The mystery woman sagged to the floor, held Mott and sobbed with her.

The mystery woman kept her in a tight embrace until Mott was able to regain enough composure to get back on her feet.

She even led Mott to the checkout line and asked if any shoppers had enough Christmas spirit to let the grieving woman cut in line. The lanes immediately parted to let her through.

Mott, still dazed, didn't think to ask the mystery woman her name. She sat in her car for 20 minutes before she could even regain her senses enough to drive to the opposite side of the metro.

She fought through a panic attack to walk into the nursing home and into her mother's room to confront the horrible scene of her mother's body crumpled in the room where the two had spent hours together.

"It was the worst sight I've seen in my life," she said.

In recent days, Mott's gratitude for the mystery woman has been a comfort, so much that she longed to reach out and belatedly thank her. So she reached out on an Iowa community Facebook page:

"Hoping you nice people can help me find a lady. I was out shopping on Black Friday at six in the morning at Mills Fleet Farm in Ankeny. In the middle of shopping I got a phone call that my mom had passed away. I sat down on the shelf in the aisle and must've bawled for several minutes. Some nice lady with black hair (I think) and purple highlights, sat down with me and hugged me for about five minutes. She cried with me. I would just like to thank her very much. Not one person stopped to see if I was OK. But her and her sister did and I appreciate that more than they'll ever know! My mom was my best friend. I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. She was only 57. I'm only 31, I still need my momma!"

One particular re-post of Mott's initial Facebook post led to yet another re-posting, which in turn was spotted by the mystery woman's sister, Sara Ross.

Ross wrote: "The lady she is looking for is my lovely sister Stephanie Uhlenberg. She just saw her there crying and couldn't just walk by. She had to make sure she was OK. Once she found out why she was crying her heart just went out to her. Doesn't matter if a stranger or not no one needs to be alone when receiving news like that."

Once Uhlenberg, 42, realized that Mott had been scouring social media for her, the most appropriate thing she could think to do was to grab her sister and attend Mott's mother's visitation at Hamilton's Funeral Home.

Once Mott recognized her, the two strangers-turned-friends wrapped each other in another big embrace. They shed happier tears. The family and other mourners looked on, probably feeling what I felt: It was reassuring to see such a warm, visible sign that the chance encounters and random acts of kindness we too often take for granted sometimes make a big difference.

Credit: The Des Moines Register

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