It seemed like an ordinary shopping trip, but he had no idea that he was about to leave the supermarket in such a rage. But it wasn’t the long lines at the checkout counter or the human crush in the produce aisle that set him off.
It wasn’t the screaming children or the zombified mothers pushing their carts in front of him in a daze. It was another family’s shopping cart, and when he glanced inside he totally lost it.
Patrick Gibson was a hard-working man who did everything he could to support his small family. When he enlisted in the U.S. Army, he thought that perhaps life would get easier.
It certainly wasn’t easy for him to leave his family for months at a time to serve his country, but if there was one thing his parents taught him, it was that nothing was ever given for free.
Patrick considered himself lucky when he met the love of his life, Whitney, and the happy couple tied the knot shortly afterward. Before he knew it, he was a father of two–a boy and a girl.
But the couple fell on hard times, and with only one breadwinner in the family, they had to make do with what they could afford.
Patrick often went hungry so that his family could eat, skipping breakfast so that his $70 would stretch as far as it possibly could. $70 doesn’t go very far when you have four mouths to feed, and after other household expenses like diapers, car payments, gas, and toiletries, the Gibsons were hardly making ends meet.
But that was okay, Patrick thought to himself. He was happy with what he had. They would make it work, somehow…
When Patrick had a little left over from his paycheck one month, he decided to visit the local Walmart to do some grocery shopping. He walked through the aisles, carefully selecting the specials and best buys, doing calculations in his head all the while.
Maybe he could buy a little treat for the family today, he thought as he inspected the gorgeously red grapes in the produce section. Little did Patrick know, his smile was about to be wiped away.
Walmart was full that day, so he didn’t want to be there for longer than he had to be. Children wailed as their tired mothers pushed them listlessly, and rude people rode into the back of Patrick’s heels with their shopping carts. It was time to get out of here.
He pushed his meager amount of groceries to the checkout line and waited to be served, never this small action to completely ruin his day.
As the line of shuffling shoppers moved slowly forward, Patrick noticed wistfully that the two carts ahead of him were piled high. He spotted fresh steaks, butter, bacon, cheese, shrimp, lobster–every luxury item he could imagine was stacked to overflowing in the two carts.
“Must be nice,” he mumbled to himself as they started to unload their goodies onto the counter. He never expected his next action to stir the ire of thousands.
The couple’s groceries were packed and totaled, and it wasn’t surprising when the number that flashed on the screen was a mind-numbing $800.
When the man pulled out his wallet to pay and opened it up, Patrick was gobsmacked. He pushed a wad of $100 bills aside and reached for an EBT card.
An EBT card, or electronic benefits card for those who don’t know, is an electronic food stamp system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a payment card.
And this is what the man was using to pay for all of his luxury items. Patrick had seen enough and angrily pulled out his phone.
Although it was not wrong that the couple was using an EBT card, Patrick was angry that they could handle paying for groceries themselves.
The injustice of it all gnawed at him as he watched. How could this be fair? That is when he decided to do the unthinkable.
Patrick was in a rage, but he bit his tongue and snapped a picture. But wait… maybe he was too quick to judge, he thought, holding back his fury.
After all, he couldn’t know what the couple’s situation was. But what he saw next in the Walmart parking lot was about to be the final straw.
The couple took some time to load the enormous amount of loot into the back of their car, so Patrick had already finished paying for his three bags of groceries when he passed them in the parking lot.
Glancing to his right, he saw them again. This was a big mistake because he looked at the wrong time…
The fact that these people were paying for their groceries with food stamps, while they had fat stacks of cash in their wallet, put Patrick into a state of rage, but he had already made peace with what he had just seen and had decided to shake it off.
but that’s when he walked through the parking lot and saw the car they were driving. It was just too much.
The couple who had bought $800 worth of groceries were loading their loot into a brand-new Hyundai Genesis, a car which, according to Patrick, sells from between $15,000 to $20,000 more than his own family’s car.
How had they possibly managed to afford a car like this while they were on welfare?
To Patrick, this extra detail of the family driving an extravagant car around just added insult to injury. For those of you who don’t know much about cars, a brand new Hyundai Genesis is a pretty nice car.
Sure, it’s no Tesla, but it’s a very expensive model of a respectable brand – and it’s certainly out of the price range of someone who would normally be on welfare. His blood was boiling as he took to Facebook to express his outrage.
He began his rant on Facebook with: “Sorry but I had to vent. The picture you see on the left is the amount of groceries including diapers that I was able to afford this pay period for my family…”
“…(wife, son, daughter, myself) which was paid in cash since I actually work hard for a living. The picture on the right is of the purchase in front of me in line.” But he didn’t end his rant there.
“If you can’t tell in the picture there are 2 full buggies of groceries including such items like steak and some other very nice choices of food. Here’s the kicker. This purchase was made in food stamps,” Patrick continued,
“Which I wouldn’t have a problem with if I didn’t see the person move their big fold of cash out of the way to get to the ebt card and then load them into the back of a brand new Hyundai Genesis.”
“That is about 15k-20k more than my car,” Patrick wrote.
He continues, incredulous, “I just thought I would take the time to tell this person/family that you are very welcome from all of us hard-working/ struggling to buy food Americans that have to foot the bill for your fancy steak feast… ”
Patrick continued: “…while I skip breakfast and lunch every day so my wife and children have food to eat …because $50-$75 dollars doesn’t go very far.”
He ends his post with a snarky comment, “So you enjoy your $800 free grocery purchase.” Needless to say, some Facebook users were as outraged as he was.
Most comments were positive, with many people saying that they had witnessed similar things, but some Facebook users criticized Patrick for his post, saying that he shouldn’t judge a stranger on just what he’s seen.
One person commented: “Do you really know their back story?” and added that maybe the new car had been a gift. But Patrick’s retaliation provided an insight as to why he had felt like an injustice had occurred in Walmart that day.
“Do you really know their back story? Don’t be quick to judge someone ’cause you’re angry. How do you know if that person works and their spouse doesn’t work because of problems?”
“…That all the money in their pocket is to pay their bills that the new car was a gift? How do you know that’s not the case?” someone criticized. But Patrick had the perfect reply.
Patrick wasn’t about to take that. He knew what he had seen and he stood by what he’d said. “Let’s just call it what it is,” he replied. “We can all sit around and believe in sunshine and rainbows, saying the old, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ stuff.”
“But the reality of it is that so many people are abusing the system that was put in place for struggling families.” Indeed, Patrick’s retort made some pretty good points…
Of course, then again, there were people who were even less supportive of what Patrick had to say. One woman decided to get personal and got a bit feisty with her comments, saying that Patrick had been “creepy” for taking pictures of someone else’s grocery cart.
She also said that, for all he knows, that car doesn’t belong to the shopper, and maybe they have nine kids. Alas, we have no way of really knowing what the situation really is. But Patrick had another comeback.
“Well, the odds of that being the case in this situation much like many other situations with food stamps are almost as likely as me being approved for some government assistance because we are struggling…” Patrick replied.
“…oh, wait I forgot. We already got denied so I’m pretty sure the chick isn’t dying and no one gave her a free car. I am sure that hard-working people such as myself are giving her a free life though.” So, what is the real reason for Patrick’s outrage?
His rage stems from the fact that he and his family were denied assistance by the state when they needed it most. Patrick protects and serves all Americans, and yet he does not qualify to go on food stamps. It boggles the mind.
And now, he was famous for speaking out. But how did he feel about the sudden notoriety on Facebook?
On a brighter note, after Patrick’s Facebook post began to make the rounds, he seemed excited that it had gone viral. In this screenshot taken from Facebook, we’re given an insight into his state of mind as it was happening in real-time.
Most people don’t get to experience feedback like this, so it must’ve been refreshing for Patrick to have his special moment. After all he had been through, it was probably invigorating to have so many people supporting him. But why did the post gain so much traction?
It’s not surprising that Patrick’s post has attracted a huge amount of attention. It has garnered over 100,000 shares and hundreds of comments on Facebook.
There are many arguments both for and against his opinion of the couple who didn’t look like they needed government assistance. One particular post about Patrick’s experience raises an interesting point…
“My point is, a picture paints a thousand words and your version is highly biased. No one needs to thank you or anyone else for working for their grocery bill when the fact is that a majority of families participating in the program are working families struggling to make ends meet just as you are,” one man wrote.
The issue of who should and does qualify for financial assistance continues to be a sensitive topic. But what if it’s a flawed system?
Regardless, it’s never okay to take advantage of a welfare system that is set in place for struggling families.
Not only does Patrick put his life, his time, and his energy on the line for America – but as a result, he has a lot less time at home to build himself a proper career.
If there’s something that we can identify with in Patrick’s story, it’s the fact that sometimes things are just unfair in this world. And quite often, there’s not much we can do about it — it’s just out of our control.
It’s not easy to run a government, but that doesn’t mean people are supposed to just sit idly by while they feel that they’ve been treated unfairly. It’s always important to stand up for your rights. That’s why Patrick’s experience struck a chord with so many people. What do you think? Was Patrick’s anger justified?