The duo made their way through Toledo’s Westfield Franklin Park mall, popped into Gap and even made time for pretzels at Auntie Anne’s, according to a source who works at the mall.
“Katie seemed tired, but was very polite and kind,” the source tells PEOPLE, of the newly single mom, who shopped alongside another woman and two young boys.
Another staffer adds that Holmes, 33, was “very sweet and didn’t seem to mind talking to people. She looked happy.”
“It was nice seeing her coming to the mall and not acting like she was some big star who was so much better than everyone,” the observer says, adding that shoppers left her alone for the most part.
“It was like she was just one of us. She was smiling and didn’t seem uncomfortable with being there. It was just Katie coming back to her hometown.”
– Samantha Miller and Myndi Milliken