This Family Bought Out A Local Payless Store To Provide Shoes For Kids In Need

Carrie Jernigan, a lawyer and a mom of three, walked into Payless expecting to score some deals on shoes for her three children. Payless had announced store closures due to bankruptcy, so it was the perfect time to save on some shoe purchases for the entire family. Little did she know that she’d end up walking away with more shoes than she could have ever prepared for.

It all started when her 9-year-old daughter saw a pair of shoes she thought a classmate of hers would like.

“[My daughter] has the biggest heart, and she said, ‘There is a boy in my class that loves Avengers, and his shoes are too small. Could you buy him these?’ And I was like, ‘Of course,’” the mom told CBS News.

It spiraled out from there.

“As I was checking out, I just said, ‘How much for the rest of the shoes in the store,’ almost joking, and I could see the clerk’s, her face, her wheels start to turn and she finished checking me out. She said, ‘Can I have your number?’” Jernigan told CBS News.

You can hear the mom tell the story of how the day’s shopping events went down in this video from the CBS Evening News YouTube channel:

Later, she received a call letting her know that, if she wanted, she could have what was left in stock. It turns out the store had just received a new shipment, so they had about 1,500 pairs of shoes in stock. According to Money, it was about $21,000 worth of merchandise.

Jernigan agreed to buy what the local Alma, Arkansas, store had in stock so she and her family could give back to children in need within their community.

“I wanted these kids to have brand new shoes for the start of school,” the mom told Money.

payless shoes photo
Getty Images | Joey Foley

While she was happy to help those in need in her community, she was especially proud that the idea stemmed from her daughter. After all, inspiring your kids to grow up to be kind is all any mom could hope for.

“If you ask [my kids] what they want to be when they grow up, they say ‘be kind,’ and so I don’t care what they do in life as long as they are kind and good people,” the mom told KSFM. “And so it just reiterates to me that their hearts are in the right place and if it’s in the right place they can do amazing things.”

Not only was the mom inspired by her kids’ kindness, but the entire community has been, too.

“It’s just becoming a huge community effort,” Jernigan told Money.

Apparently, since buying out the store, many people in the area have asked to donate shoes to the cause. To make sure these shoes get to those who need them, the family is organizing a back to school bash before school is in session again.

The bash begins at 2 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Alma Middle School Gym, KSFM reports. The publication states that the family will be partnering with Kibler Baptist Church and will also be giving away school supplies.

Who would have known a simple trip to Payless could have turned into an event like this?

Here’s hoping these shoes help out plenty of families this school year!