When a 10 year old named Leon visited an Asda supermarket in Liverpool, England earlier this month, a soft, cuddly stuffed panda caught his eye — he hadn’t saved enough from his allowance, though, and his mother’s next paycheck wasn’t set to clear until June 15th. He understood completely, and, after he resolved to raise the rest of the money himself, patiently began the waiting game.
His main concern, though, was that someone wouldn’t know how much he wanted the toy, and would buy it before he had the chance. So, he wrote Asda shoppers a heartbreaking note, asking them to please (pretty please!) pass on purchasing. “My mum didn’t have enough money to buy me pandy so she’s buying me pandy on June 15th, so please don’t buy him as it will make me sad and I will cry, thank you so much from hopeful future owner,” read Leon’s message.
When Asda employees discovered Leon’s message, they took to Facebook to locate the boy, they had a surprise for him! Touched by the boy’s words, they’d banded together to raise the funds (about $20) themselves. Leon’s mother, Debbie Ashworth, recognized her son’s handwriting after seeing news reports on the Liverpool Echo’s website, and took her son back to the store where her “hopeful future owner’s” dreams came true. “As he was walking out he said to me, ‘This is the best day of my life.’ It meant the world to him, thank you so much Asda!” Ashworth said, reported Asda’s news site.
The kind gesture couldn’t have come at a better time, the family is still recovering from the loss of their youngest son and brother Oliver, who passed away earlier this year. “In January my son Oliver was born prematurely and passed away four days later so it’s been a really tough, difficult time for all of the family, especially the children who were so involved in the lead-up to the birth,” explained the intensive care nurse and mom-of-three.
In the aftermath of all the news coverage, Leon had a brilliant idea — in a comment on Asda’s post, his mother said that her son had donated the $20 he’d worked to save to the Honeysuckle Bond, an organization that helped support the Ashworths and families like them following a miscarriage, stillbirth or early neonatal death. And it looks like the Asda team’s kindness has inspired others to pay it forward; during a live TV appearance on the UK news and talk show, This Morning, Leon was told that he and his family were gifted a trip to China to see real pandas, reported the Liverpool Echo.