By Jon Rumley
Turning six years old is a piece of cake if you know how to celebrate.
Lilly Apter knew she wanted a sweet treat to put the icing on top of her big day.
“Obviously, I want a Walmart cake,” Lilly told her mother, Aly Niznik. “I want the picture on the cake to be Walmart.”
The mother of two asked her daughter why.
“It’s my favourite place in the whole world!”
The little girl just loves Walmart, her mother explained. It’s a place where she can spend hours roaming the aisles with her younger brother. Lilly enjoys picking up new toys, clothes and stationery while shouting with excitement.
She loves Walmart more than princesses, trips to Florida or even Disney World, according to mom.
“Walmart made me happy when I couldn’t do anything,” Lilly told her mother.
Daily trips to Walmart became a fun ritual for the young family.
“During the pandemic, there wasn’t a lot of things that we could do and going to Walmart was the one thing that made her light up every single time,” Aly said. “It was a constant in her life. It made her feel like she could always count on it.”
Lilly shops regularly with her family at the Walmart store in Thornhill, Ont. Store manager Sima Khandabi says her team was over the moon when they heard about Lilly’s love for their store.
“It was so amazing. It was a moment when they felt so good,” Sima said. “The experience that our associates created for her will stay with her forever. It made the whole situation magical for her. I’m very proud.”
Lilly’s story put a smile on so many faces during a challenging time for the store, which completed a renovation last fall and had to navigate through the pandemic. Sima credits her friendly and caring associates for going the extra mile.
“We are here for only one reason: the customer,” Sima said. “We transformed the store in a good way for our customers. We’re so happy to see the results.”
And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Walmart is the perfect place for Lilly’s mom, too.
“I love it. It’s my go to,” Aly said. “You can get anything and everything there. It’s a one-stop shop.”
As for Lilly, she graduated from kindergarten in June and will be starting Grade 1 in September.
And she got the cake she wanted, but it wasn’t from Walmart. Her mother had to grab one from another bakery and made sure it included the Walmart photo. Regardless, it didn’t last very long.
“She was the happiest girl ever,” Lilly’s mother said. “Thank you, Walmart, for the little things you do to make people happy.”