My Heartfelt Thanks to the Lady at Farm Fresh

27 Mar

There’s this lady named Lacey that works in the Farm Fresh bakery near my house. She’s my hero today.

Jackson’s five year remission anniversary is on Sunday. Just like we’ve done every year since he’s been in school, we send cupcakes in to celebrate. We come up with something unique each year – last year, Jackson made cookie cupcakes. Cookie at the bottom, cupcake on top. Lots of icing and sprinkles. He loved them.

This year Jackson was VERY specific about the cupcakes he wanted to make. He wanted funfetti cupcakes with blue/green funfetti icing. We went to three stores to get everything he needed: Target, Farm Fresh and Michael’s. We made yellow fondant Childhood Cancer ribbons to go on the top of the blue/green icing and sprinkles. He decorated them himself, and they turned out adorable!

photo 2

Jackson and his cupcakes!

Packed and ready this morning, Jackson had his cupcakes, plates, napkins and white luminary bags for his class to decorate. (We are going to light them on Sunday night around our house to mark the anniversary).

He was pumped. Ready.

Ev dropped Jackson off and it wasn’t 10 minutes later that my caller ID was his school. The assistant principal told me there are no homemade baked goods allowed in school because of allergies; it was Hampton City School’s policy. Since we’ve been at private school until this year, I just didn’t know. I apologized and told her I’d go get some storebought ones. She asked if I would let Jackson know.

This is when my heart absolutely broke.

Jackson got on the phone. He could barely breathe. He was crying, embarrassed. Can you imagine being seven, just for a second, and so proud of the cupcakes you made for an anniversary that no one else has and then being stopped and having to leave them in the office?

I’m sorry, I didn’t know! I’m going to fix it! I’ll leave right now and get some from the store and bring them in. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault, it’s Mommy’s. I’ll fix it!

I threw on workout pants, a hooded sweatshirt, glasses and my morning hair on top of my head. I grabbed my purse and sped to Farm Fresh.

I couldn’t believe it: they had 24 cupcakes with the same blue/green icing and sprinkles. There were Avengers rings on top of the cupcakes, but those could come off. Thank you, God.

I hollered to the lady working in the back of the bakery: How long does it take for these to thaw?

15 minutes, said Lacey.

Perfect! I ran to checkout, ironically rounding up for the CHKD cancer program as I did, and headed to my car. I plucked the Avenger’s rings off the frozen icing. Once I did, though, they just didn’t look special anymore. Could I take the fondant yellow Childhood Cancer ribbons off the homemade cupcakes? I’m sure I could. I turned to start the car then stopped. I actually wasn’t that sure I could.

So back into Farm Fresh with my already-bought, store-bought cupcakes. I made a beeline for the bakery and Lacey.

Excuse me? I said. Could I ask you a huge favor?

She came over and listened. My son…cancer…remission…cupcakes not allowed. I messed up. Can you maybe put yellow ribbons on the top of these?

Sure, she said. Using my iPhone picture of what the cupcakes looked like, Lacey started making the first ribbon. She stopped and switched tips on her yellow icing bag. She started again. Pretty soon there were yellow ribbons on a whole row of cupcakes. I waited, wiping a couple tears away from the corners of my eyes. Bakery, call on line one, came over the speaker. But Lacey kept on, focused. When she finished, she resealed the cake, something I wouldn’t have known, and smiled when I profusely thanked her. These cupcakes were as near to our homemade ones as store-bought-ly (I know, that’s not a word) possible. They were perfect.

Homemade on the left; Store bought on the right.

Homemade on the left; Store bought on the right.

So I ran back out, hopped in my car and made it to his school. Once buzzed in, the nurse met me in the office and checked the ingredients. We got a yellow sticker with an OK. With my Visitor sticker on, hair on top of my head and my workout pants that haven’t seen a gym yet, I knocked on the door to Jackson’s class. His teacher smiled and took the cupcakes. Jackson, very serious, came to the door and looked them over.

The lady at Farm Fresh made them JUST like yours, I said! I showed her your cupcakes on my phone.

Jackson nodded and gave me a couple hugs and pretty much told me with his eyes, Thanks, Mom, now hit the road. You look a hot mess.

I walked out feeling less like crying and more like going back to the bakery section of the grocery store and high-fiving my new best friend, Lacey. Crisis averted. Day blessed.

If you’re checking out at Farm Fresh anytime through April 4, remember this story. Remember the kids that have their remission cupcakes from the bakery. Give for the ones that are still fighting at the hospital. Over the last 14 years, Farm Fresh has raised almost $8 million for the cancer program at CHKD. There’s a special place in my heart for my cancer survivor…and my local grocery store.

14 thoughts on “My Heartfelt Thanks to the Lady at Farm Fresh

  1. She was an angel in disguise for you. I love the way you write. I’ve been reading your blog since my wonderful daughter-in-law, Tanya Holloran, told me about you. I’ve sent some of your posts to a friend who has a granddaughter facing a few medical issues, thankfully nothing like what your kiddos have dealt with. Thanks for taking the time to tell your stories. They’re really special.

  2. Thank-you so much for sharing your story. It touched my heart as I’m sure it did many others that you may have shared this with.

    First, let me say “congratulations” to your family for your son’s cancer-free status! That by itself is a miracle that absolutely deserves to be celebrated. I also want to call out a shout to the CHKD staff! Having been to the CHKD for a number of visits and having seen the loving attention the staff gives to all their patients, I know these stories serve as reminders to them for why they do what they do and help them get through the tough times they sometimes experience with some of their patients. These stories motivate the entire team to stay focused on what they do best… taking care of our children with cancer and other illnesses.

    As President of Farm Fresh, I would really like to personally thank Lacey for stepping up to take care of your needs and was hoping you might tell me which store she was working at. I’m not sure that I have met Lacey yet but want to be sure to give her kudos. We are proud of our team members and Lacey’s service is a perfect example of what we hope all of our customers would experience when they visit our stores.

    Thank-you again for sharing your story, and again, congratulations to your family for being cancer-free! May you celebrate many more birthdays together! 🙂

    • Thank you, Micky. Reaching five years is a big milestone for us and for Jackson’s cancer. We have so much to be thankful for, in particular everyone at CHKD. They’re like our second family! What Farm Fresh does is so important, and so appreciated, not just by the hospital but by the families that are connected to it. I appreciate you taking the time to write a note.

      As for Lacey, she was wonderful. It was 7:30 in the morning and I’m sure sure had lots of other stuff she had to do to get ready for the day. She may not have realized how much her help meant to me today, but she could not have done a better job of making things right for us. I’m looking forward to getting Jackson off the bus and hearing all about his day. She works at the Willow Oaks Farm Fresh in Hampton 🙂

  3. i just wanted to comment that because of mr nye’s on the spot response and not just because of the lovely bakery worker’s response, farm fresh is now on my go to grocery. thank you sir. you are a part of america that still shines.

  4. How beautiful! I work at several Farm Fresh’s and will be baking Jackson’s cupcakes to sell to my co-workers in celebration of his remission. All money will be going to the Round Up in Jackson’s Honor.

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