‘Fierce Elves’ invade grocery store in loved one’s memory

Street Stories

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Shannon Hiel was known for being fierce, and now her father and friends, and this week some elves, are applying that attitude toward kindness.

Brian Hiel does not believe in coincidence.

So as he scoured this grocery to spread the holiday spirit by paying the tab for strangers.

“I started this thing in memory of my daughter who died in a car crash about six years ago,” Hiel said.

It made sense to hear stories like this.

“I don’t know what to say. I just lost my husband,” one woman said after Hiel offered to pay for her groceries.

Shannon was 18 years old when she died in a Burrillville crash in July 2013.

“The one thing we always have for our loved ones who aren’t here today is that we have love in our hearts,” Hiel said.

This holiday giveaway is one of many ways the Fierce For Shannon Foundation remembers her.

The kindness comes with a fierce coupon that will last far longer than the meals cooked with these groceries.

“All I ask is that at some point you pay it forward for someone else,” Hiel said. “The whole idea of the coupon is it goes from person to person to person and one day it’s going to come back to you.”

Jen Hopgood is one of the fierce elves helping Hiel spread the message.

“Shannon and I were a lot alike,” Hopgood said. “I connect with her fierceness and a little bit with her spirit.”

“It’s things she would do on her own and we’re just duplicating it,” she added.

In this season to make someone else that happy and to give and really is a pretty unique experience,” Hopgood said.

“It’s an expression of my love for Shannon,” Hiel said.

The Fierce for Shannon Foundation gives out scholarships and grants for high school and college students.

Email Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com with your story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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