What an exciting day this has been! If you haven't already, please start by reading yesterday's post.
We were very excited to get to JCPenney this morning, but got a late start because we ran into the same funeral procession THREE TIMES while doing some simple errands (a few too many than I should have attempted)! I called Ryan Peck, the store manager, and he said not to worry.
When Emma, Alli, Gwen, and I finally arrived, Mr. Peck asked us to come to the front of the store. He introduced us to a young man from The Marshalltown Times-Republican newspaper who took some photos and interviewed Emma and me about our experience. Brenda, the sales associate who helped us was also there, along with a few other employees.
Then the manager asked if it was ok to video record the next part. He started to get choked up, and told us how JCPenney has been looking for stories around the country and ways they can give back this Christmas season. As soon as they read my story, they knew they wanted to do something for us. This was the only story that had been picked in the state of Iowa. The plan was set just a few hours after I sent the email, which is VERY impressive for a company the size of JCPenney! Then Mr. Peck told us that they were giving us a $500 gift card to JCPenney! WOW!!! That's when I started tearing up. It was way more than I had expected, and was so touching! I said that I was trying to do something nice for them and didn't expect to get anything in return. He told me that is exactly why we were picked. I will post a link to the video and newspaper article after they are published.
For the first several minutes, I walked around the store with my hand over my mouth saying, "I don't know where to start!" The kids were giggling about that! We didn't spend all the money, but we sure got a good start. First, we went to the shoe department and got Alli the Converse shoes she'd asked for on Thanksgiving, but I had told her no. Emma got some jeans and a shirt that will go with her boots. Gwen wanted a necklace and a shirt. TJ got $55 worth of socks, which isn't as many socks as you would think it would be. I got a robe to replace my old one that I've had for about 15 years.
But my favorite thing I got is a sapphire ring. I'm not a jewelry person. TJ bought me jewelry the first couple years we were married, until I explained to him that I wasn't that kind of girl. But for some reason, when I was shopping at JCPenney on Thanksgiving, a ring caught my eye. It was on clearance for about $40 that night minus my coupons, and it fit my finger perfectly. I know because I tried it on three different times. In the end, I didn't want to spend that much money on something that wasn't practical. But for some reason, I kept thinking about that ring, and I regretted not buying it. So when we were invited to return to this very store, one of the first things I thought of was that ring. I assumed it would be gone. It was the only one in the store, and by this time would have been sitting in the clearance section for nearly a month. I was afraid to look, so it was the very last department we visited. It was there! And now this ring will remind me of the struggles we have gone through with Emma's little foot and of the beautiful kindness from JCPenney.