New Jersey woman's act of kindness repaid with a painting

WASHINGTON TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Over the next couple of days, Peggy McAllister will be busy deciding where to hang a new portrait of her home.

"This right here will always go to whatever house we go to after we leave here. I will take this with me and it will remind me... it will take me back to the fact that we moved into this town in September and we've met some really nice people here," she said.

How she got it, and who painted it, is what's really special.

It started about two weeks ago, at an Acme store in Washington Twownship. That's where Peggy offered to help an elderly woman take her groceries to the car.

"She says, 'I will give you a hug, but I have something else I want to do you for you.' I am like, 'okay.' She says, 'Can I have your name and your address?' and I have never been asked that before, to give my name and address to a person and I have no clue who this is," McAllister said.

Reluctantly, Peggy gave her information to that stranger, but as it turns out her act of kindness was repaid in full.

That stranger was 87-year-old Cynthia Haggerty.

"When I meet somebody, I usually say, 'Can I paint your house for you?' And they look at me like I am nuts because I can't climb a ladder! That is what they think, I am going to paint a house," Haggerty said.

She's been painting pictures of people's homes for about a decade.

She has no training and no easel, but uses her dining room table to create her masterpieces. Haggerty has painted hundreds of pictures over the years, many times for complete strangers. Most of the time, it's just to say thanks to people like Peggy McAllister.

She recalls one story that sums up the reason why she paints.

"I got a thank you note from the daughter, and she said "the painting made my mother smile in the first time in over a year,'" she said.

An act of kindness forever connected two strangers. They both hope this story will make you smile and cause you to do something kind for someone... not because you may get something in return, but because it's the right thing to do.

"Just do something out of the goodness of your heart and that is all you need to do, and you will be surprised how just by you doing one thing might have somebody else react back at you to say thank you," said McAllister.

"When I was growing up the world was a much kinder place and people were kind to each other," said Haggerty.

It doesn't have to be at a grocery store but the next time you're out, Peggy and Mrs. Haggerty say do something kind you'll never know who you will meet or what kind of impact it will make.

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