I made a terrible mistake last Friday. I sat down and read the comments people leave under the Citizen’s Facebook posts. Technically it wasn’t a mistake. It’s sometimes part of my job to weed out inappropriate content. But also I was curious about what was on people’s minds these days. I gotta tell ya, the exercise very nearly ruined my morning. People are mean. They’re angry. They only see the bad in things. They think everybody has an ulterior motive. They sit safely behind their keyboards and judge. Not everybody, of course. But those are the ones that stood out that day.
I was bummed right out.
To turn it around, I started to think about what to write for my next column. To be honest, I was getting a bit discouraged but then inspiration was fed right to me.
You may recall that earlier this month I wrote about my daughter’s misspelled birthday cake. It said “Happy Birtday” (they forgot the ‘H’). I thought it was a pretty funny situation and apparently you all did too because I’ve been receiving wonderful emails in commiseration — full of photos and stories of your own cake mishaps.
The thing is, I wasn’t particularly bothered by the error. My preschooler can’t read anyway. I just thought it was funny. I didn’t want to embarrass the company that made the cake so I took extra care to cut as many of the distinguishing features out of the photo as I could. I just wanted to have a laugh and share it with you.
Mistakes happen. We’re all human and doing our best.
It turns out people figured out that I got my cake at Dairy Queen. They’d been getting comments about my column.
Who doesn’t love an ice cream cake right? (We won’t get into just how to eat your ice cream cake because those strong Facebook opinions will emerge about whether to leave that fudgey centre part until the end or to dig into it right away.)
Anyway, I was sitting at my desk a little stunned by the negativity swamp that was social media on Friday morning — you know, questioning humanity and whatnot — when in walks Mr. Nice.
I’m not even kidding.
Duncan DQ Franchisee Graham Nice walked into the newsroom.
“Uh oh,” I thought to myself as I quickly began writing my apology in my head.
Mr. Nice was not alone. He was with my publisher (double uh oh) and trailing in behind them was pretty much everybody else who works at the paper.
What was happening?
Then I noticed Mr. Nice had a big cake and an even bigger smile.
“We hear it’s your birthday,” he said, presenting me with a cake and a grin (It wasn’t my birthday, but that’s irrelevant). I looked down at the cake and I immediately started to laugh.
The cake featured a picture of Sesame Street’s Elmo holding a letter ‘H’ and said:
Appy Birtday Sara
Tinking of you & wising you te best!
Wit love, DQ
(Tis message was brought to you by te letter ‘H’)
Every single H, except the one, was missing.
Well played DQ. Well played.
It’s really nice that Mr. Nice and the folks at Dairy Queen saw the humour in the situation. At the end of the day it wasn’t what the cake said that mattered, it was how it made my preschooler feel and by all accounts she was thrilled. So thank you, DQ, for your family favourite ice cream cakes, and for putting a smile on not just my daughter’s face, but on mine (and the entire staff of the Citizen’s as well.)