MEDFORD, New Jersey — Paying it forward at a Medford Wawa Friday led to a memorable encounter with singer Keith Urban for a local substitute teacher.
Urban, who was in the area for his concert in Camden, popped up at the convenience store and a customer managed to grab a selfie with him and loan him a few bucks. The customer, a substitute teacher named Ruth Reed, looks thrilled to have the star's arm slung around her shoulders in the photo that was posted in the Medford 08055 Facebook group.
Reed, a teacher in Medford for more than 30 years before retiring and now working as a substitute, said picking up Urban’s tab is part of her regular routine at the popular South Jersey convenience chain. That cash doesn't typically go to a celebrity, though.
"Three years ago, I made a resolution to treat somebody at Wawa once a week," she said. "I have done that ever since. It is the best. I would encourage everybody to do it because it makes you feel good about you."
A friend gave Reed $20 for her Wawa acts of kindness. She overheard Urban ask a companion for $5 and said he looked like he could use some help.
“I argued with him that he was not Keith Urban," Reed said. "I said, ‘Yeah, well if you’re Keith Urban, where is Nicole (Kidman, his wife) and who is that woman you were with?’ He said ‘It’s my sister, let’s go ask her.’ My snippy words were, ‘Yes, I’m sure she wouldn’t lie to an old lady.’ I was so sure he was just yanking my chain."
When Urban pointed out his bodyguard, Reed “just went to pieces" and asked if she could take a picture with him.
"He was so gracious," she said. "He was just so nice. He was awesome.”
Reed said she hopes the story inspires others to do good deeds for one another.
“This was out of the blue," she said. "Being at the right place at the right time and too stupid to recognize Keith Urban when you see him. But we always tend to notice what people do wrong and we don’t notice the good."