People are praising Ta Leia Thomas for being the perfect example of someone who would give you the shirt off their back. Thomas, known by her friends as “Ace,” was working at the Brooklyn Center Liquor Store just outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area when she saw something that’s all too familiar in America these days, a homeless person digging through a trash can.
“He put on two makeshift boxes on his feet,” Thomas told Kare11. “I was mid-transaction and I was like, ‘hold up, let me go outside and talk to him.'”
“I said, ‘What size you wear?’ and he said 10 or 10½,” Thomas recalled. “I just looked around, grabbed my shoes, unlaced them and gave them to him right at the door.” The shoes she gave the man were more than just run-of-the-mill sneakers, they were her purple retro Nike Air Jordans.
Thomas’ shoes were purple as a tribute to her favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings.
“He said nobody would ever give me shoes like that. And I said, well, I’m not everybody. And he was like thank you so much and I see him walking away and he’s walking away with pride,” Thomas told KTUL.
Store manager Tom Agnes saw Thomas working her shift wearing only socks and wondered what was wrong. “I came back from lunch on Tuesday and Ace is helping customers and helping people out in her socks,” added Agnes. “You know the old saying give the shirt off your back? She literally gave the shoes off her feet,” Agnes said.
The store put up a post on its Facebook page praising Ace for her generosity.
u201cEveryday Hero Ta Leia ThomasnHeartwarming moment Minnesota liquor store worker gave destitute man her prized Nike Air Jordans after spotting him using CARDBOARD BOXES as makeshift shoesu201d
— Fear God not Man (@Fear God not Man)
“This is a true example of empathy, compassion, and holiday cheer. We can all appreciate a story like this during the holiday season,” the store’s post said. “We applaud Ace for her selflessness and her willingness to help those in need!”
The post went viral, earning nearly 1,000 shares.
“Ace, that was a very kind gesture, especially during this holiday season. Some people forget the reason for this season, but, not you. May GOD Bless you and send many blessings your way,” Tasha Brown-Hughey commented on the post. “Thank you for being a remarkable human being in a world that is so often uncaring. Your kindness is a true gift,” Teri Mich Davids added.
Multiple commenters tagged the Minnesota Vikings in their posts and the team is aware of Thomas’ generosity. An official told Kare11 that it’s aware of the story and looking for ways to celebrate her generosity.
Agnes and some friends raised $450 to repay Thomas and get her some new Jordans, but before they gave it to her they learned she needed much more than a pair of shoes. Thomas takes care of her mother who sleeps in her bed at night so Ace has to make do on the floor.
Thomas’ story is incredible because even though she could use some help herself, she still gave what she could to someone less fortunate.
“Everybody in the world deserves to be loved,” she said.