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Coffee shop employee breaks down after college students gift free Disney World trip

PHOENIX — Bibbity, bobbity, blessed! Several college students recently surprised a North Carolina coffee shop employee a fully-paid vacation to Disney World after hearing the trip was a dream of hers, the Huffington Post reported.

Kathryn Thompson, an employee at Acorn Coffee Shop at North Carolina’s Elon University, thought it was just any normal Monday when two students and loyal customers,  Lucy Smith-Williams and Taylor Zisholtz, came in to the coffee shop.

But Smith-Williams and Zisholtz had other plans in mind; After learning that one of Thompson’s biggest dreams was to attend the “Happiest Place on Earth,” they gathered the support of the community to help fund a trip for the coffee shop employee.

“I really took to her warmth,” Zisholtz said in an interview with Elon Local News. “She was very invested in where we were from, what we were doing, and when she said ‘it’s my dream,’ I thought, ‘Well there’s 6,000 people here with at least a dollar. We could probably make this happen.'”

Smith-Williams and Zisholtz said they learned of her dream in September, when Thompson told them her grandson, who has autism, loves Mickey Mouse and she always wanted to take him there, according to the article. Not long after, they launched a GoFundMe page and surpassed their $6,500 goal in less than a month.

Thompson, who has worked at the shop for five days a week for more than a decade, has deep family roots in the university: Both her parents graduated from Elon in the 1950s.

“She’s been here for a long time,” Glenn Austin, Acorn’s assistant location manager, said in an interview with the Elon Pendulum. “She’s dependable. She hardly ever calls off and is a stable employee for the night shift.”

When given the gift, Thompson could barely hold back her emotions.

“It’s a dream come true,” she told Elon Local News. “Thank y’all and I love y’all.”


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