GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It was just a chocolate birthday cake, but the icing on that cake is its message.
A photo of the words “Happy Birthday Mandy” scrawled on the cake by a Meijer worker who has autism has spread around the world, with more than 127,000 shares on Facebook alone.
It has led to messages from strangers to the Kentwood woman who bought the cake and posted about it on Facebook.
“Thank you so much for sharing your story,” one message read. “My 4-year-old granddaughter was recently diagnosed as autistic.”
“I didn’t share it so that people would say, look at her, she’s so nice,” Lisa Aldrich told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday. “I shared it hopefully so that people would consider that they should be nicer.”
Aldrich, a group leader at Ada Bible Church, bought the sheet cake at Meijer in Gaines Township on Saturday for her sister’s birthday, which also happened to fall on her family’s Bunco game night.
She asked a worker to write “Happy birthday Mandy” on it, smiled and thanked her, but didn’t notice the handwriting until a few minutes later and actually didn’t mind it.
Then another Meijer worker spotted it.
“She said, ‘Did you get that here?'” Aldrich recalled.
Other concerned workers, even a manager, gathered around the cake.
“One cashier put her arm on my shoulder and said, ‘the girl who wrote that has autism. Thank you for smiling and thanking her- even though she’s not supposed to write on cakes, you probably made her day,'” Aldrich wrote on her Facebook page.
“I thought it was instantly something I felt happy about,” she said on Wednesday.
“There’s just so many people who are dealing with things that we don’t know about because we don’t see it on the surface,” she said. “And when I get all these messages from families that struggle, it just breaks my heart to think about all the meanness that people have to endure because they’re not just like everybody else.”
Aldrich posted a photograph of the cake along with her story on Facebook, and it went viral. More than 190 websites have posted the story, including NBC News, Buzzfeed, CNN, USA Today and AOL News.
“I don’t even know how that happened,” she said. “All I did was buy a cake.”