You never know what you’ll learn when you help someone out of a jam.
A supermarket shopper claims to have met a Holocaust survivor during a recent grocery run, whereupon the elderly woman revealed that she always buys Bonne Maman jam because the company’s owners protected her family from the Nazis.
The shopper asked the professor if he knew why she had an affinity for Bonne Maman — and got talking.
Michael Perino, a professor at St. John’s University, rocked Twitter on Valentine’s Day when he shared the stunning story heard inside a New Jersey supermarket.
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On Feb. 14, Perino said he helped a little old lady retrieve the French jam brand’s raspberry preserves from a precarious position on a high shelf, for which she offered her thanks. The woman asked the professor if he knew why she preferred Bonne Maman’s products — and the two got to talking.
“I am a Holocaust survivor,” the woman said, according to Perino. “During the war, the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris. So now I always buy it. And whenever I go to the store, my grandkids remind me, ‘Bubbe, don’t forget to buy the jelly.'”
“I told her that was the best reason I ever heard to buy any company’s product,” he wrote. The new acquaintances then simply smiled at each other from behind their masks, and “went our separate ways,” he said.
The touching tale has since gone viral, with Perino’s first tweet racking up over 27,000 likes and 8,000 shares.
Some have questioned the tale’s veracity, pointing out that the Bonne Maman brand was created in 1971, while parent company Andros only came about in 1959, long after World War II came to a close.
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However, Snopes reported that Andros founders Jean Gervoson and Pierre Chapoulart can trace the roots of their business back to Biars-sur-Cère during WWII, a French village that one commenter alleged was well-known for “helping hide Jews in the war.” Because Biars and Paris are over 500 miles apart, another wondered if Perino had perhaps misheard the woman when she said her family was hidden in Paris.
A spokesperson for Bonne Maman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News, but told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency “the family prefers to maintain privacy and does not comment on inquiries about personal matters.”
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Perhaps the vague reply shouldn’t be a surprise, as the outlet reports that the jam brand’s founding families are “famously secretive.”