Back in the day, the menu behind the counter at McDonald’s used to say smiles were free.
A young employee at a Langley McDonald’s has earned praise for an even kinder gesture, comforting an upset customer who had just attended the funeral of a loved one.
Tammy Stauffer-Jacobsen says she stopped by the Brookswood McDonald’s last Wednesday to get a cup of coffee for her and her husband.
It was a particularly difficult time as she was mourning the loss of her father-in-law Norman Jacobsen, who served as mayor of Maple Ridge and MLA for the riding of Dewdney.
Tired and emotionally drained, Stauffer-Jacobsen had trouble finding the words to order the coffees. She told the McDonald’s employee that it had been a long day as she had just come back from a funeral.
Employee Scott Farynuk stepped in with his staff card and took care of the drinks.
It was this small gesture that sent Stauffer-Jacobsen over the edge.
“I started to cry and he came around the corner and gave me a really big hug,” she said.
“It took him a couple of minutes for him to make the coffee but I just kept telling him, ‘Thank you.’ It was just so sweet of him to do and so kind.
“I’ll never forget it.”
Stauffer-Jacobsen was so touched by the small act of kindness that she wrote about it on Facebook.
The post circulated around the community and people have been coming into the Brookswood McDonald’s and calling head office to commend the young man.
Farynuk says he’s flattered by all the attention but isn’t sure what all the fuss is about.
“In a way, it’s kind of sad that a kind gesture has to be newsworthy because it’s something everyone should be doing every day,” he said.
“Who wouldn’t do that in a situation where someone is emotionally suffering and they just need someone to be there and tell them it’s OK? I think a lot of people would do the same.”
Stauffer-Jacobsen says the two have kept in touch as she still comes in regularly to buy coffee.
“He’s got a lot of compassion, a lot of empathy,” she said of Farynuk. “He’s being raised well.”
— With files from Aaron McArthur