Texas Grocery Store Loses Power, Lets Customers Leave With Free Groceries

February 22, 2021

A grocery store in Texas lost power and allowed all of its customers to take their groceries without paying for them.

HEB store lets customers Texas take groceries
H-E-B / Credit: TR Henny

An H-E-B grocery store in Leander, Texas, has gone viral for its act of kindness to families during a severe winter storm which has left many scrambling for food and water after power outages.

The store allowed customers to leave with groceries free of charge.

Tim Hennessy, 60, shared his experience on Facebook. This is what he wrote:

*** The Heart of America ***

Today, Deb and I went to our local grocery store called: H.E.B.

We wanted to pick up a few things before the next snowstorm and historically, crazy weather we are getting near Austin, Texas.

Halfway through our shopping the stores power went out. It was still light out as it was only about 3:30pm. We kept shopping as hundreds of other people were too. I told Deb let's hurry in case they tell us we must stop shopping and check out right away. We were picking up some milk and other items for other family members too and wanted to be sure we got everything we went there for.

Sure enough, about 10-15 minutes later one of the HEB employees asked us to head to the check out area and said: "we'll check everyone out as quickly as we can as we have a process for these kinds of things".

We got to a line with about 10 full carts in front of us and there were many other lines to both sides of us and many people behind us – probably several hundred people waiting to be checked out. BTW: the store had lots of empty shelves already but there was still enough stuff for most people's needs.

We waited in line for about 15-20 minutes and barely moved up 1-2 slots. Then all of a sudden we started moving faster. We both thought: Wow, they are checking out people quickly. Must be all hands on deck.

In a few minutes, we were asked to move to the next checkout aisle that was open. We got to the checkout woman and she asked: "Do you have any alcohol?" I said: "No, but if you are giving out drinks, I could use one about now" 😊

She then said: "Please go ahead but we can't bag anything up for you." At first, Deb and I were a bit confused and I asked: "How or who do we pay for our groceries?" We probably had a couple of hundred dollars worth of groceries. She said: "Just go ahead and be safe driving home." Then we noticed the lines of people after the checkout stands proceeding with full carts of groceries all being directed out the store with many employees there to greet us on our way out.

Deb began tearing up which always gets me teared up too - as we could not believe the generosity of H.E.B. and the kindness of that wonderful gesture. They could just as easily asked us all to leave the store as soon as the power went out and asked us to just leave the groceries in the carts. But instead, they allowed people to continue to shop for another 10-15 minutes after the power went out and then let everyone leave the store without so much as a single dollar being asked for from the hundreds of people leaving the store.


This is the America that I know. Despite all the negative we hear/see being reported daily in the news. America and most Americans are still kind, thoughtful, generous, and caring.

I salute H.E.B. for the kindness they showed us, the thoughtfulness they showed us, the generosity they showed us, and the caring that they showed us (along with the other hundreds of fellow Texans in the store at that time).

From the bottom of mine and Deb's heart, we will never forget what you did when no one would have blamed you for taking a different action and when no one expected such a wonderful gesture.

--- With Love Always and Grateful that America is Still the Land I Love, Tim H.

P.S. On the way out the door, I turned to the HEB employees and said: "Oh wait...I forgot the Filet Mignon!" We all got a good laugh out of that one.

In light of the news, people took to Twitter to praise H-E-B for their act of kindness.

H-E-B was founded in 1905 as a small grocer in the Hill Country town of Kerrville. The family-owned business now has 100,000 employees in over 300 Texas stores and has been able to hold its own against big chains like Walmart and Kroger.

That's because most Texans believe H-E-B is more than just a grocery store chain -- especially when it comes to disaster response.

"They know their customers and that gets rewarded," said Leigh McAlister, a marketing professor at the University of Texas, an author of the book Grocery Revolution — and a regular customer at H-E-B. "It just feels like when I go into an H-E-B store, they're trying to figure out how to make my life wonderful."

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