Stephanie Rempel, a third-grade teacher at Harold Hatcher Elementary School in Transcona, says the compassion of a perfect stranger who helped her pay for a stack of books for her classroom has left her speechless. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rempel)

A Winnipeg elementary school teacher says she was astounded by a stranger’s generosity in helping her buy for a stack of books for her classroom.

Stephanie Rempel, a 3rd Grade educator at Harold Hatcher Elementary School in Transcona, was shopping for new books for her kids at McNally Robinson in the Grant Park Shopping Centre on Saturday. Rempel claimed she had used all her $600 allotted for books in her classroom, but she still had a stack of novels she thought her pupils would love.

Rempel planned to buy them with her own money rather than return them to the shelf.

She said a woman approached her as the cashier was scanning the books and inquired if she was a teacher and whether the books she was buying were for her students.

“Then she just proceeded to put money on the counter and said, ‘These are for those books,’ and started to walk away,” Rempel said, recalling how the woman put a handful of bills on the counter.

“I’m thinking, ‘What is going on? Is this for real?’ And I’m kind of stumbling over my words, trying to just thank her.”

The woman left Rempel $80 to spend on the extra books.

“When I got to my car and put all the books in the back, I just kind of sat there trying to process what happened, I got quite emotional,” Rempel said.

“We’re all very excited and just blown away at this woman’s kindness.”

It was a fantastic moment, according to Angela Torgerson, general manager of the McNally Robinson shops in Winnipeg.

“We see teachers giving up their own time and spending their own money,” she said. “We do what we can to support them, we offer them a discount, but to see something like this was just out of this world.”

Torgerson said the woman is a regular client and that she intends to send the unknown Good Samaritan a thank-you present.

“It was such a lovely, lovely moment,” she said. “It’s been a particularly disheartening couple of weeks, and to see an act of just generosity and pure kindness like that, it meant the world to my staff and we were floating on cloud nine all day afterwards.”

Students in Rempel’s class will also be writing thank you messages to the stranger for her act of kindness, she added. The notes will be forwarded to Torgerson at McNally Robinson, who will ensure that they reach the woman.

“We were all in actual tears. It was a wonderful, wonderful thing for our staff to see,” Torgerson said.

“It really, really went a long way to restoring our faith in kind and good people.”

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