A simple act of kindness has paid out social media dividends for café chain Panera Bread.
On Aug. 7, Facebook user Brandon Cook wrote a post detailing how a Panera store manager in Nashua, N.H., went out of her way to fulfill the request of his cancer-stricken grandmother.
A day later, his mother, Gail, reposted an almost verbatim version of Brandon’s initial post (the only difference was replacing the word “shit” with the word “awful”), and tagged Panera’s Facebook fan page on the note:
“My grandmother is passing soon with cancer. I visited her the other day and she was telling me about how she really wanted soup, but not hospital soup because she said it tasted "awful" she went on about how she really would like some clam chowder from Panera. Unfortunately Panera only sells clam chowder on Friday. I called the manager Sue and told them the situation. I wasn't looking for anything special just a bowl of clam chowder. Without hesitation she said absolutely she would make her some clam chowder. When i went to pick it up they wound up giving me a box of cookies as well. Its not that big of a deal to most, but to my grandma it meant a lot. I really want to thank Sue and the rest of the staff from Panera in Nashua NH just for making my grandmother happy. Thank you so much!”
By Tuesday, the note of gratitude had 515,023 likes and 22,534 comments. Users flooded Panera Bread’s own Facebook page with positive notes.
For her part, Suzanne Fortier, the manager in question, didn’t think that what she did was out of the ordinary.
“That’s really the kind of company we work for, and typical of their employees,” Charity Gagnon, another manager at the Nashua Panera store speaking on behalf of Fortier, told the Nashua Patch. “Suzanna has been saying that she knows any one of us would have done the same thing; she just happened to be the one to answer the phone.”
The feel-good story has also made Brandon Cook into a minor local celebrity. On Monday, he announced on his Facebook page that he was going to be featured on that night’s 11 o’clock news broadcast for ABC affiliate WMUR.
All this from a simple bowl of soup. In the Internet age, small acts of kindness pay off tenfold.
Photo via JD Hancock