Nana Asante is a British-Ghanian woman living in the United States. She’s not from the U.S., but she’s been here long enough to understand how quickly things can go sideways when young black lives clash with police over relatively minor things. Her quick thinking at her local Walmart is being hailed for potentially saving two young boys from suffering the same fates we’ve been seeing in the news all too often.
Nana noticed in-store security watching and following two boys who she later found out were 13 and 14. As she looked on, she saw one boy put something in his pocket while the other served as a lookout. Clearly, the two weren’t hardened or experienced criminals if they didn’t notice both security and Nana watching. Nana realized the boys weren’t pocketing things from aisles that shelved electronics, jewelry, or toys. They were standing in the personal care section of the store. These kids weren’t stealing for profit or fun. They were trying to steal something they needed, but couldn’t afford.
Nana noticed the security officer start to move towards the boys, so she swooped in.
These two black kids were stealing out of Walmart Security was watching them So I told them whatever you got in your pockets right now walk with me to the register and don’t question me I copped the deoderant they were about to steal for them I couldn’t let them go to jail...— Nanasia (@MelaninMotiv8er) June 11, 2018
The story didn’t end there. The boys were embarrassed and apologized to her for trying to steal. Speaking to Unilad, she explained the boys’ heartbreaking response and what her next move was:
When we got there I said to place whatever is in your pockets in my cart and they did. I saw the deodorant and I knew immediately something was wrong. Who steals deodorant? It costs four dollars.
The little boy said, ‘We’re sorry ma’am,’ and I said, ‘You couldn’t ask anybody!?’ The other said their mother had died last year so it was just him, his brother and two little sisters living with their grandmother.
I said you don’t have to steal, you just have to ask.
I said I know you don’t know me but here is my number and if you need me, call me. I can be your big sister.
I also opened my wallet and gave them all the cash I had. They were so thankful and gave me the biggest hug.
God made me go to Walmart that day. It took one act of kindness to change the path these boys were taking.
Nana grew up in a single-parent household and understood how often the boys and their siblings would struggle. She helped them in the way she knew best.
Twitter has been cheering for her since.
I was just crying reading this. You are an exceptional person. This is what makes a country exceptional, we need to be doing this as a society. It shouldn't come down to luck of meeting sometime like you xx— Forever Doing Reno (@TheForeverReno) June 11, 2018
You are literally the reason I know WE are going to be okay! Because of beautiful hearts like yours!!!— Colleen Marshall (@ColleenMarshall) June 12, 2018
I’m sitting in my car with tears lapping my chin. Thank you for standing in the gap for those kids. After all they’ve been through, the last thing they need is a criminal record. They didn’t need a lecture; they needed to know that people care enough to help. I pray they call!— Toccara C. (@IamCaraKeyaCee) June 11, 2018
I grew up mostly without parents. One time I stole something we needed from the local supermarket- didn't get caught- but I would like to think I would have been treated with the same kindness and mercy you showed these boys. It's tough to navigate the world without money— Sheela N. Gig (@10128brandywine) June 12, 2018
I was a foster parent for years. None of the male adolescents had any toiletries moving foster home to foster home. When the choice is that or food in many families this happens, even in foster care. Its very sad.— Kelly Hannan (@Khchuba) June 13, 2018
Thank you. That was once a 13yr old me, stealing food cuz I was hungry, and a lady such as yourself (LISA) the cashier at the store I was stealing from, who I still remember, stopped me and told me she’d pay for my food. Without that moment, my life would be different.— Byron Manuel (@ImFreshPM) June 14, 2018
I'm going to try to pay closer attention and follow your beautiful example. We're in this crazy world together. We need to help each other through.— Suzanne Hemond (@SuzanneHemond) June 12, 2018
Even Walmart praised her actions.
Be the person you needed when you were younger ??— Walmart (@Walmart) June 11, 2018
She has not heard from the two boys yet, but if she does, she’s ready to help! Nana has inspired an army of Twitter followers to be ready to mobilize for any young people in need. The world could use more people like her. We know we’re inspired to be more like Nana. What about you?