A pay-it-forward story is inspiring people after a farmer’s good deeds were revealed after he passed away on New Year’s Day.
Hody Childress, a farmer and Air Force veteran from Alabama, went into a drugstore about a decade ago and asked the owner if there were people who weren’t able to pay for their medicine.
“I told him, ‘Yes, unfortunately that happens often,’” Brooke Walker, the owner, said. “And he handed me a $100 bill, all folded up.”
But he didn’t want credit for it.
“He said, ‘Don’t tell a soul where the money came from — if they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the Lord,’” she said.
He continued to anonymously provide resources for people in the form of a $100 bill each month for years, and was able to bless those around him with his actions.
“His kindness motivated me to be more of a compassionate person,” Walker said. “He was just a good old guy who wanted to bless his community, and he certainly did. He established a legacy of kindness.”
The money he gave her grew to thousands of dollars and Walker was typically able to assist two people each month who needed help paying for their medicine.
Walker was considering reaching out to his family, but his daughter was also getting ready to inform people about the gifts at his funeral since he had told her about it before he died.
“He told me he’d been carrying a $100 bill to the pharmacist in Geraldine on the first of each month, and he didn’t want to know who she’d helped with it — he just wanted to bless people with it,” Tania Nix, his daughter, said.
“It was just who he was — it was in his heart,” Nix added.
Childress told Nix so that she could do it for him when his health didn’t allow for it. Childress survived on a minimal retirement and Social Security.
“He didn’t spend a lot of money in life, but he always gave what he could,” she said. “If he took you out to eat, you had to be quick to grab the ticket, or he was paying for it.”
He had lived through tragedy, but was still an upbeat person. In 1973, his father and son were both killed in a tornado.
“That was really hard on him, but he never complained,” Nix said. “He never lost his optimism.”
When people in the community started figuring out at his funeral that he was the one who had helped them, they were shocked, she said.
“I heard from people who said they’d been going through a rough time and their prescriptions were paid for when they went to pick them up,” she said.
His actions have inspired people to keep giving to the pharmacy.
“We’re calling it the Hody Childress Fund, and we’re going to keep it going as long as the community and Hody’s family wants to keep it alive,” she said.
The New York Times reported that since The Washington Post published the story, Walker, as well as Nix and her family, have been contacted by people from all over the country who want to give. A man from Miami was even inspired to go to his local drugstore to begin a fund.
One woman, Ms. Schlageter, was able to get her son an EpiPen because of Childress’ money, but she didn’t know he was behind it.
“All of a sudden it comes out that Mr. Hody did it,” Schlageter said. “What he doesn’t know, now that he’s in heaven, is that he helped a kid that works on a farm that he started. Look at that circle.”