This cafe worker’s charm is so infectious that a loyal crew of patrons felt it only right to reciprocate with some magic of their own.
Kathryn Thompson, an employee at Acorn Coffee Shop at Elon University in North Carolina, was surprised by adoring students before her shift on Monday night with a fully paid vacation to Disney World, Elon Local News reported. After hearing a trip to the park was a dream of Thompson’s, students Lucy Smith-Williams and Taylor Zisholtz rallied the university community to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign that made her wish upon a star come true.
“I really took to her warmth,” Zisholtz told the news site. “She was very invested in where we were from, what we were doing, and when she said ‘it’s my dream,’ I thought, ‘well there’s 6,000 people here with at least a dollar. We could probably make this happen.'”
Thompson has worked at the café five days a week for over a decade, with shifts ending at 2 a.m. Her parents graduated from Elon University in the 1950s and she has had few resources and opportunities to leave, according to the Elon Pendulum, the university’s student news organization.
“She’s been here for a long time,” Glenn Austin, Acorn’s assistant location manager, told the news site. “She’s dependable. She hardly ever calls off and is a stable employee for the night shift.”
Smith-Williams and Zisholtz first learned of Thompson’s dream to go to Disney World in September, when she told the pair that her grandson who has autism loves Mickey Mouse, and she has always wanted to take him to the theme park. The students researched the cost for Thompson’s family of five, and found the trip could easily be funded if half of Elon’s student body contributed just $2. They launched the GoFundMe campaign and surpassed their $6,500 goal in less than a month. When Smith-Williams and Zisholtz, clad in Mickey Mouse T-shirts and holding gift bags of Disney goodies, presented the surprise, Thompson was moved to tears.
“It’s a dream come true,” she told Elon Local News. “Thank y’all and I love y’all.”
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