Woman buys out Payless store to help Nebraska flooding victims

Addy Tritt
Posted at 9:06 AM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 10:06:45-04

(CNN) — A woman walked out of Payless with hundreds of new shoes, but none of them are for her.

Addy Tritt saw that all pairs of shoes were on sale for $1 at her local Payless in Hays, Kansas, last week, and something told her to go.

The retail value of the shoes was about $6,000, Tritt said. She said she negotiated for 2.5 hours until she could get all of the shoes in the store — 204 pairs — for pennies each, and only paid $100 for the bill.

The store needed to sell the shoes anyway. Payless announced in February that it was closing all its stores across the United States and started liquidation sales.

Tritt donated all of the shoes to Nebraska flood victims. "I'm Catholic, and I believe that it's just part of God's plan for me to help people," the 25-year-old graduate teaching assistant told CNN. "Whether it's volunteering in a classroom or donating, that's what I'm going to do."

Tritt says she first posted on Facebook asking for help transporting the shoes to Nebraska. A woman reached out to her volunteering to help, and Tritt gave her nearly half of the shoes.

She donated the rest — 113 pairs of shoes — to a drive at her alma mater, Fort Hays State University, according to the organizer, the Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority.

"The Sigma Alpha chapter at Fort Hays State University was floored by the amount of support our local community had on our drop-off locations," said Emily Bennigsdorf, Sigma Alpha Beta Mu chapter president.

The shoes were delivered to Nebraska on Monday, in a tractor-trailer alongside water and supplies donated by others, the sorority said. A local agricultural science program in Nebraska will distribute the donations to those in need.

Out of the 204 pairs of shoes she bought at Payless, 164 were baby shoes, two were men's and the rest were women's, Tritt said.

"Whether it's volunteering in a classroom or donating, that's what I'm going to do." — Addy Tritt

The store could only process 99 transactions at a time, so Tritt left with two massive receipts and one small one, she said.

"Each had 99 items on them. It said each shoe and the size. You were literally paying pennies for each pair of shoes," she said.

Tritt is no stranger to doing good deeds for people she's never met.

"I've done huge donations in the past, and this is the biggest I've ever done," she said. "I have this need to help people, and if I can help, I'm going to do it."

She said she has organized supply drives for animal shelters and drives for baby clothes and diapers. She also filled bookbags with school supplies for local students.

Tritt says she's been blessed in life and blessed with a new job — she's moving to Edmond, Oklahoma, next week to work at a university. She will continue to give back wherever she is.

"If you can help someone, you can't put a price on it. It is the best feeling in the world," Tritt said. "I will be doing this my whole life."