Grandmas are known for giving the best birthday gifts, and Denise DeMara Haight is no exception. But she had her work cut out for her this year, because her grandson doesn’t have an affinity for the traditional children’s toys. He prefers a rather grown-up item instead, one that Haight was having trouble reimagining into a more appropriate plaything.
Haight is the grandmother of a 7-year-old boy named Cam who has autism and is obsessed with mailboxes. “He loves to put things in, take them out, open the door, close the door, raise the flag, lower the flag over and over (not necessarily in that order!)” she says.
So what’s a grandmother to do when she needs a mailbox that will be sturdy enough for her grandson to play with but also one that’s able to live in the house and be moved from room to room? Luckily, some wonderful employees at Home Depot knew what to do!
Employees Gary and Lorel approached Haight as she was standing in the mailbox section of the Gaylord, MI, Home Depot, deeply pondering how to make a mailbox that would suit Cam’s needs. She explained the situation with them, and the trio talked for a few minutes about the potential options. Then Gary told her he had “a few ideas and would put something together” and asked her to come back on Saturday.
Haight decided to trust him, so she left and came back on Saturday. Meanwhile, with the help of some colleagues, Gary created the perfect mailbox for Cam, using an orange bucket as a base and a white post to hold the mailbox at the right height. The work of art came complete with Cam’s name on the side and a patch of fake grass on the bottom. Inside the mailbox were a Home Depot apron, a stuffed bear, and some other toys as well. And when Haight asked how to go about paying for it?
Haight writes: “He said, ‘There is no charge for the mailbox, tell that little boy Happy Birthday from Home Depot!'”
The creativity and generosity of a few wonderful people has made for one very happy little boy—and one very happy grandma! Thank you to those who helped make Cam’s birthday present a success!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?