A woman in Michigan took to Facebook to share a heartwarming experience she had with a reportedly autistic employee at Meijer Gaines Marketplace — and now her story has gone viral.
The post, recounting the simple but impactful story of buying a birthday cake, has been shared well over 100,000 times.
Lisa Sarber Aldrich, who according to her Facebook profile, lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan posted on Sunday that she picked out a cake at Meijer Gaines Marketplace and handed it over to a bakery employee to have a birthday message written on it.
"After a long time, she came and presented me with this cake," Aldrich wrote in a caption to a photo of a cake that touted the message "Happy Birthday Mandy" in purple and pink icing. "I looked her In the eye and said thank you before I even looked at the cake."
Aldrich, who did not reply to a TODAY.com request for comment, was a bit surprised by the looks of the decoration. The writing was pretty sloppy — not typical of a store bakery, whose employees typically have flawless frosting penmanship.
But Aldrich didn't complain.
"It didn't really matter to me that it looked so bad — I thought people would think it was funny," remarked Aldrich, who went on to say that the cashiers at checkout weren't so amused, presumably because a less than picture-perfect cake could reflect poorly on their bakery business.
"[They] called a few more cashiers and a manager over to look, even taking pictures," wrote Aldrich.
One cashier explained to Aldrich that the employee who had decorated her cake had Autism.
"Thank you for smiling and thanking her — even though she's not supposed to write on cakes, you probably made her day," the cashier told Aldrich.
Aldrich concluded her story with the moral, "kindness is important!"
Meijer seems to agree.
"We are proud to have a great team, which includes people with disabilities," a Meijer spokesperson told TODAY.com. "This team member was trying to provide great customer service, and our customer was very kind in the way she handled the situation. We believe this story seems to resonate with people because it sends the message that a little kindness can go a long way."
Meijer Gaines Marketplace was tagged in the original post and is receiving radiant Facebook reviews. One positive reviewer gave the local business five stars and stated that she intended to buy a cake from them "but only if the same young woman can decorate it."
Aldrich added a comment to her post to say that she checked with the manager and the employee, who was allegedly not supposed to write on cakes, was not penalized for her actions.
"[Meijer] told her to do whatever she needed to do to serve the customer's needs, and she did just that."