Alabama farmer’s generosity inspires pay-it-forward kindness across US

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


An Alabama drug store owner recently reflected on an encounter she had with a farmer some years back that had a profound impact on her life, though she couldn’t know at the time that it would spark a movement.

Brooke Walker told The Washington Post that roughly a decade ago, she was approached in her Geraldine, Alabama store by local farmer and Air Force veteran Hody Childress. He asked if she knew of any customers that couldn’t afford to pay for their medicine.

“I told him, ‘Yes, unfortunately, that happens often.’ And he handed me a $100 bill, all folded up,” she recalled. Childress kindly but firmly instructed her not to “tell a soul where the money came from — if they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the Lord,’” Walker said.

And so began a legacy of quiet generosity that would come to light only after Childress’s passing on Jan. 1 and has since inspired strangers from across the country to follow his example in paying it forward.

After their initial encounter, Walker said that Childress continued to anonymously provide help to those who couldn’t afford their medication. With each folded $100 bill, delivered promptly at the first of the month, came the familiar reminder that Walker mustn’t reveal Childress’s identity. Walker said the donations, which quickly grew into the thousands, enabled her to typically assist two people each month who needed help paying for their prescriptions.

“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.”

Following Childress’s passing, Walker debated whether or not she should finally break her vow of silence and tell his family what he had done. However, Tania Nix, Childress’s daughter, was one step ahead of her.

“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,” Nix said, adding that her father only shared the information with her when his health began to fail because he wanted to make sure the payments would continue.

“It was just who he was — it was in his heart,” Nix added.

She also revealed that her father survived on Social Security and a minimum retirement.

“He didn’t spend a lot of money in life, but he always gave what he could,” she said. 

Childress himself was no stranger to hardship. Both his son and father were killed in a tornado in 1973. 

“That was really hard on him, but he never complained,” Nix stated. “He never lost his optimism.”

Nix said that when word of her father’s generosity began to spread after his death, several people in the community were shocked to realize that he had actually helped them.

“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, though they had no idea who was responsible.

The New York Times reported that, since The Washington Post published its story about the quiet farmer with the huge heart, both Walker and Nix have been contacted by people from all over the country wanting to make donations 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,” Walker said. 

One man from Miami was so inspired by Childress’s generosity that he opened up a prescription assistance fund at his local pharmacy.

A woman identified in the article as “Ms. Schlageter” marveled that she was able to get her son, who now works at Childress’s farm, a lifesaving EpiPen thanks to Childress’s help.

“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.”

This article was partially informed by Daily Wire and Conservative News Daily reports.