A good Saturday at the local Dairy Queen

Ali Momin, Allie Itson and Patrick Taylor (C)CochranDairyQueen

COCHRAN, GEORGIA: It was nearly standing room only at the local Dairy Queen as a bundle of people of all ages, sizes, shapes, sexes, races, socioeconomic classes decided they wanted a grilled hamburger or fish sandwich or chicken strips or fries or onion rings or a Blizzard or a sundae.

The owner and the manager both were on duty. Everyone was moving fast and furiously – not literally furiously.

In the center of the activity was a less than four foot tall, eight-year-old girl with long dark hair and twinkling eyes. She wore a red visor and pullover shirt with the Dairy Queen emblem, and her name, Allie, monogrammed on the shirt.

The way that everyone was focusing on the little girl you would have thought she was the ‘President of the United States.’

Her name was or is Allie.

And she could have been or be the President with her charm, her personality and her common sense.

So, what made Allie the center of attention?

Allie started having ‘spells’ – seizure like – in the fall of 2019. Scary moments – scarier enough that her mom and dad took her to doctors who sent her to specialists and then the tests started, the poking and prodding began and a diagnosis of moyamoya disease arrived.

Moyamoya is a rare disorder that has the blood vessels in the brain becoming narrowed, which limits the flow of blood to the brain, and puts the individual at “risk for stroke.”

So, basically, Allie was a ‘stroke patient.’ Treatment prescribed for Allie was to start with two brain surgeries.

Mom Diana, Dad Brian, Sister Maddi and Brother Andrew, along with a host of family and friends and community connections, enveloped Allie with has much support and love as they could.

One day, Allie and Diana went to the Dairy Queen in Cochran to pick up lunch for Diana’s employees. It was there that Diana had a moment of her own – a Dairy Queen employee showed exceptional customer service to Allie.

Diana said later in so many words “She had no idea what was going on in Allie’s life.”

A call was made to the manager, Patrick, and Diana talked to him about the customer service, Then, Diana broke, and told Patrick about Allie’s health and upcoming medical procedures.

Within seconds, Patrick, who is a father, called his employer, Ali, also a dad, and patched him in with Diana. Both men wanted to do something to help, and asked about putting together a fundraising day. Diana was humble, and hesitant. After talking with her husband, they agreed.

And that is all it took for Ali and Patrick to get the ball rolling to plan “Allie Day.”

Allie Day was to be filled with activities and lots of good food. A portion of the proceeds would go to offset the medical costs.

She came through the surgery well. Two weeks later, Saturday came, and Allie stood behind the counter of Dairy Queen, asking people, “May I take your order?”

People came and went. Some even just bought a cone or a small sundae while others grabbed a full meal. In addition to the purchase of a meal or a treat, several people put some money into a bucket or into the hands of one of the parents, or even Allie.

And for Allie, she is recovering one step at a time, still smiling, still with a twinkle in her and still laughing and enjoying her french fries.

Watching the way people came out for Allie would have melted even the Grinch’s cold, cold heart.

The stories of the magic that happened that day for Allie were endless – and not only that – they still continue.

Allie’s story – her illness, diagnosis, surgery and Allie’s Day – has reached hundreds of thousands of people thanks to the news media. One particular news station has a reach as “long as the Mississppi River is wide and back.”

One night, in a “three-way text” after a text with Diana, the manager, Patrick and owner, Ali and their marketing manager, all three agreed that this was different – helping Allie. The two words repeated were “I’m speechless.”

Speechless … overwhelmed … surprised … or as Diana said “feeling the God bumps.”

The event was a week ago, and people are still reaching out, writing notes and more to Allie and her family, and even have reached out to the Dairy Queen crew.

Is it because of the event? Do they have their own agendas? Is it because of Allie and the way she is recovering? Is it because there is a need for kindness in the world?

Is it because there are nice people in the world? Picture Ali, Patrick and the folks who came to ‘Allie Day.’

Or could it be, that it was just one of “those moments?”

Either way, it was a good Saturday at the Dairy Queen!


Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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