MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A grieving Minnesota family received an unexpected gift during a chance encounter at the mall.

Brianna and Emily Robbins’ mom, Maggie, was killed in a car accident earlier this month.

A few days later, their dad took them shopping to try to lift their spirits.

“She had two jobs. She was just one of the best moms ever,” said 9-year-old Brianna Robbins.

To her daughters, Maggie was the world. And when Brianna and 8-year-old Emily lost their mom a couple weeks ago, their dad, Justin, wasn’t sure how his family would move forward.

“They were really rough days,” Justin said. “Her favorite store was Lululemon, and so we thought to take the girls to get a headband at Lululemon to cheer them up.”

But as fate would have it, this would be no ordinary shopping trip.

Brianna quickly recognized Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who was shopping with his family. Justin offered the quarterback words of encouragement, and they got a picture together.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“We posted this to Facebook and we said, ‘Look who mommy sent to say hi to us today.’ It really cheered up my daughters,” Justin said.

But that was just the start. While meeting the Ponders, the girls told them why they were shopping at Lululemon.

So while Justin, Brianna and Emily were busy on Facebook, the Ponders were busy too.

“When we walked into the store, the manager came out and he mentioned that they wanted to buy my daughters some clothes that day,” Justin said.

After pressing the manager for several minutes, it finally came out that Sam and Christian Ponder wanted to do something nice for Brianna and Emily.

Anything the girls wanted was on their tab.

“After a while, my daughters had the whole store in a bag. So I decided to say, ‘You’re not getting all those clothes.’ I allowed them to get one outfit,” Justin said.

But the girls still got way more than they bargained for; their outfits were professionally tailored.

In the eyes of Brianna and Emily, the clothes were a touchdown at a time when they needed it most.

“I’d tell him thank you for what you did, and that I felt like my mom was doing this,” Brianna said.

And while the Ponders weren’t looking for recognition, Justin and his family want them to know the difference they made.

“We really, really want to thank the Ponders and what a great man. Samantha is a great person and Christian is a great man,” Justin said. “It was a great day, it really helped us out. We really appreciate the Ponders for doing that for us.”

In addition to what the Ponders did for his family, Justin wants to thank everyone in Bloomington who has supported them during this very difficult time.

RELATED: Ponder Says Birth Of Daughter ‘Brings New Perspective’

John Lauritsen

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