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Why Panera Has My Business: A Deployment Story

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A care package and a deployment story. Panera will always have my business.This deployment has really forced me to remind myself how kind people can be.  I love believing the best in people– I’m an inner city school teacher. I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t believe that people are generally good.But time and time again in the past 5 1/2 months, I have been surprised and humbled (I know I say “humbled” a lot, but truly, there is no other descriptor) by the generosity and kindness of others.

My sisters and I stopped at a Panera for lunch last Sunday. Afterwards, we (of course) stopped at the bakery counter. I ordered those delicious pumpkin pie and cranberry walnut bagels with the intent of sending them to John as a surprise.

Panera-themed care package-- complete with bagels and cookies!

Because I talk about John incessantly to anyone who has ears and wants to listen for half a second, I told Andrea, the cashier, that I’d be trying to send them to Afghanistan. “Oh, wow. That’s a new one,” she said.

She handed me my bag and said, “I threw in a cookie. Let me know if it makes it there okay.” I thanked her, smiled, paid the bill and went on my happy way.

In the car, I discovered that she had given me two extra bagels and not one cookie, but a dozen.

Panera-themed care package-- complete with bagels and cookies!

For some, the gesture may have been small, but this random act of kindness was absolutely epic. It’s easy to feel forgotten by the larger world during a deployment, especially since it so often feels like time is standing still and that everyone else is carrying on with their lives. The kindness and generosity of spirit that Andrea exhibited reminded me that so many people are pulling for each other– regardless of the situation. What a wonderfully poignant reminder of the goodness of people.

Panera-themed care package-- complete with bagels and cookies!

[Tweet “It’s easy to feel forgotten by the larger world during a deployment–it often feels like time is standing still &that everyone else is carrying on with their lives.”]

(And by the way, the bagels made it to John fresh, albeit a little smooshed from my vacuum sealer.)

PS. Ready for food care package inspiration? You might like The Ultimate List of Care Package Help.


31 Responses

  1. Awww! I used to go to Panera all the time in college and bring my husband back one of their goodies. I haven’t been in ages!

  2. Stopping by from SITS. Love those little reminders about the good in humanity. I’m glad the bagels arrived fresh and hope he enjoyed them :-)

  3. Thanks for stopping by Sparkles And A Stove! And thank you is not enough for John’s service but thank you for his service and both of your sacrifice. I love this story and it makes me love Panera even more.

    1. Kathy, thanks for checking my blog out too! :-) I love seeing what other people are doing– yours is something I want to aspire to!! And thanks for your kind words. :-)

  4. Aww! That’s totally sweet! I love eating there because the food is delicious and it’s just such a nice company and they’re great to their customers.
    It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally following you..! (:

  5. I love how you wrapped the outside of the box! I usually just wrap the inside. If you wrap the outside, can you still ship it flat rate priority with usps?

    1. Thanks! You can still ship it flat rate no matter what you put on the outside! If your mailperson is finicky, you can always leave the barcode (on the bottom of the box) uncovered. I’ve never had any issues with anything that I’ve sent.

      Usually I wrap the outside with duct tape or patterned/colored packing tape. If I wrap it with paper, I cover it in clear packing tape, too, so that it doesn’t rip off when shipping.

  6. Ah, I started to tear up when you opened the package. People are essentially good given a chance. I think as an employer, Panera gives people that chance. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  7. That is so sweet! It’s amazing what just one random act of kindness can do for a person. This is why we should perform these random acts on a regular basis.

  8. What a wonderful example of kindness! Just another reason for me to give Panera my business. I’m visiting from SITS. :-)

  9. What a great story. Thanks for sharing this act of kindness, and for appreciating it. We take so much for granted.

  10. Awesome! I love hearing stories like these! Random acts of kindness are so rare these days, but so appreciated when they do happen! Happy SITS Day! I look forward to following your blog!

  11. I <3 Panera Bread! I go there way too much. There’s one within walking distance of my job. It’s dangerous yet awesome having one so close to work!

    Julie @ This Gal Cooks

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