BISMARK, N.D. (KXMA/KXMB) – Emme Aipperspach was shopping at Target in Bismarck, North Dakota on July 21, just like any other day, when she suddenly realized something felt off.
“I was just browsing the notebooks, as any good English teacher would, and I suddenly felt really hot, light-headed, heard the ‘whishing’ in my ears and was like ‘Crap, I’m gonna go down,'” Aipperspach said.
The Bismarck English teacher remembered Target employees swooped in, giving her some orange juice and time to call a friend.
“We just waited up front, had a really good conversation, connection about her day. She left with her friend and went to get checked out. So we didn’t think a whole lot about it at that time,” Target HR Director Travis Parker said.
After going to the hospital, 24-year-old Aipperspach had a stroke, leaving her car at the Bismarck Target parking lot for a couple of days.
Her aunt called Target to explain the situation and make sure the car was OK to stay.
“When I heard that, I felt like it was necessary to do a little care package,” Parker said. “I just thought, here’s someone who’s 24, she seemed like a really great person. To have a stroke, she’d be going through a lot. I got my team together and said ‘Let’s do a basket for Emme.'”
When Aipperspach came back to get her car, she noticed a note from Parker.
“I thought the note was, he had to fill out some paperwork for corporate or whatever, but I came in and they’re like ‘We have something for you,'” Aipperspach said.
Aipperspach posted a video on TikTok sharing that the Target employees gave her a note and a gift basket that had a Target T-shirt, school supplies and other items.
Target shared her video on Facebook, and, as of Friday afternoon, it’s been viewed more than 250,000 times.
Parker says he’s not a social media guy but found out eventually.
“I knew what TikTok was because my son who’s 13 wanted it, so we talked about it about a week before this became viral. So now he’s got some leverage on me,” Parker said.
The last time Aipperspach and Parker were together was the day of the stroke, July 21 – until Friday.
“To be honest, in retrospect, I’m really not surprised by this behavior. I think it was very kind and generous and kind of the way North Dakotans work. I’m very grateful to be from here and to be blessed by awesome people like Travis and the Bismarck Target team,” Aipperspach said.
“I just think it’s good for everybody to take a step back and do something nice for somebody or if somebody’s in need to help them out,” Parker said.
Parker has worked at Target for the last 21 years in three different locations. He says he loves the job and connecting with guests and employees.
Aipperspach says since the stroke, she’s recovered quickly and has even gone on a four-mile hike.