March 18 • 12:08 PM

Couple's kindness outfits fishing trip

Spec. Tim Johnson grateful for surprise gift after returning from Iraq.
June 24, 2009
IMLAY CITY — After more than a year in the dusty desert of Iraq Tim Johnson thought he'd like to do a little fishing.

The 20-year-old National Guard Specialist had been deployed with the 14th60th Transportation and was finally back on home turf last Sunday. His mom, Cyndi Greene is thrilled to have him back home, having spent the past year worrying about the safety of her only child.

He may be Cyndi's only child, but Tim is a little like "family" to clients of Shear Hair's Debbie Ross. His proud grandmother has a framed photo of him on display at her work station. Throughout his deployment she sends packages—playing cards and snacks, this and that—and shares news of Tim with clients as she cuts and styles hair. Debbie, too, is thrilled to have him back in the area, and after making the rounds with family Tim thinks some fishing is in order.

He and a buddy decide to get some gear. They have options for fishing—Cat Lake in Mayville where Tim lives, or Lake Pleasant, where his grandma's house is.

They stop in the Dunhams in Lapeer and Tim picks out about $175 worth of fishing equipment. What happens next is amazing, Cyndi says, and she wants to let people know about it.

With gear in hand at the checkout counter Tim writes a check. The clerk attempts to make the electronic transfer, but the check won't clear.

Tim says he figures it's because the account's been inactive since he's been in Iraq for more than a year. He tells the clerk he'll make a phone call and try to get the matter cleared up.

While he's in the parking lot on the phone with the bank, he gets a huge surprise.

"The people behind him (in the checkout line) came out with all his stuff—about $175 worth—hand it to him and say 'here, go fishing,'" Cyndi says. "That's absolutely amazing."

Cyndi says the pair were in their late thirties or early forties, and Tim was so surprised other details are fuzzy.

"He couldn't believe it, they just handed him the stuff and said 'go fishing,' and he was shocked and grateful," Cyndi says.

She, too, is grateful for the couple's random act of kindness.

"It's just so great that people are supporting the troops, what with the controversy and all," Cyndi says. "It just made me tear up. Even in these times people are out there still caring about each other."

Tim will be released from duty in a couple of months. He plans to study law enforcement in college with an eye toward working as a border patrol guard on the Mexican border.

He'll celebrate his 21st birthday in July.

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