Woolworths worker's birthday surprise for boy leaves mum in tears

Ash Cant
·5-min read

A Victorian woman was floored by a Woolworths worker’s sweet note slipped into her online delivery, bringing the mother to the verge of tears.

Sharon Zabielski ordered some party supplies for her son’s sixth birthday from the supermarket’s Croydon store, east of Melbourne, but she didn’t expect staff to include something extra special.

“Sometimes it’s the small things that make your world shine,” Ms Zabielski wrote on Facebook, sharing a photo of a note from a Woolworths worker.

“Happy Birthday,” the colourful message says.

“Hope you have a super duper day! With love, from the Croydon on-line (sic) team.”

Ms Zabielski told Yahoo News Australia she was initially confused when she pulled out the note. She then showed her son, Nash, who turned six on November 25.

The note written by a Woolworths worker reads: "Happy Birthday Hope you have a super duper day!"
Sharon Zabielski was confused when she pulled out a birthday note in her Woolworths delivery. Source: Facebook

Due to Covid restrictions, Ms Zabielski had just told Nash he couldn’t have a birthday party like previous years.

“I called Woolworths to provide feedback and I was in tears. I was like, ‘That’s so freaking sweet’,” Ms Zabielski told Yahoo News Australia.

“With Covid and not being able to have parties and him not being able to have his friends but then have some random stranger wish him a happy birthday, like heavens above.”

As it turns out, Ms Zabielski has had a pretty terrible year. The thoughtful note meant a lot for her because, after all, small things can make a huge impact.

Taking to community groups on Facebook, Ms Zabielski set out to find the Woolworths worker who wrote the note to say thank you and explain just how much it meant to her.

Sharon Zabielski's son, Nash, opens presents on his sixth Birthday.
Sharon Zabielski's son, Nash, turned six on November 25, but due to Civid could not have his friends over. Source: Supplied/Sharon Zabielski

Woolworths worker ‘compelled’ to write note

Katrina Ablett put two-and-two together when she was packing the Woolworths online order, which included balloons and a Freddo ice-cream cake.

This was the first time she had left a note like this with someone’s online order, so she got the okay to do so from her manager.

“I really did feel compelled to do it,” Ms Ablett told Yahoo News Australia.

“As I was packing it I was thinking, ‘Oh my God someone's having a birthday, this is so cute, it's obviously a little person's birthday’.”

A Google Maps image of the Woolworths store in Croydon, Victoria.
Sharon Zabielski was determined to track down the Woolworths worker from the Croydon store in Victoria who wrote the note. Source: Google Maps, file

When Ms Zabielski put out he call on Facebook, Ms Ablett ultimately messaged her. The two got in touch and ended up speaking over the phone.

“It was so good to hear... it’s such a little thing, just a little note just made someone so happy,” Ms Ablett said.

The note is still displayed on the Zabielskis’ fridge.

“It's been a really good experience for all of the children to see, you know, some random stranger has reached out and be so kind,” Ms Zabielski said.

“I mean, I'm sure it only took a minute or so but it meant the world to all of us.”

Not only did the two women become friends on Facebook, Ms Ablett wished Nash a happy birthday on the 25th, with Ms Zabielski sending through photos of the celebration.

Sharon Zabielski's son Nash celebrated his sixth birthday a little differently this year due to the Covid pandemic. He is pictured with a new toy and a puppy.
Katrina Ablett's note made an impact on Ms Zabielski and her whole family. Source: Supplied/Sharon Zabielski

Woolworths worker on the importance of being kind

In response to Ms Zabielski’s post on the Woolworths Facebook page, the supermarket said it had been in touch with the Croydon team.

“We’ve been in touch with our team at Croydon and found out that your lovely personal shopper who left the note was Katrina,” a Woolworths representative said.

“We’ve thanked her personally for going that extra step above and beyond to put a smile on her customers’ faces. We’re so proud of everything our teams have done throughout this difficult year.

“We hope the birthday celebrations were wonderful!”

Due to Covid, Ms Ablett lost her job in hospitality and says she is very lucky to be working at Woolworths with the online team.

Although she admits missing customer interaction, which is why she was glad her simple act had such a positive impact.

Nash Zabielski, pictured opening a present, was very excited to receive the note for his birthday and it is still hanging on the family's fridge.
Sharon Zabielski says Katrina Ablett's note was a good lesson for her children as it showed the importance of being kind. Source: Supplied/Sharon Zabielski

“I thought because it's been such a crappy year for everyone, I guess that just made me sort of feel like I needed to do something,” Ms Ablett said.

Due to Ms Zabielski putting the story out on social media, others also got to follow along with the heartwarming story.

“It takes five seconds and a freaking half a page of paper and some highlighters to make a difference in somebody's life,” she said.

This year has been tough on everyone – from parents explaining to their young children they can’t have a party due to the pandemic to supermarket workers who have put themselves at risk to provide an essential service.

However, it has been the small things throughout the year which have given people hope, and Ms Ablett summed it up best.

“It doesn't hurt to be kind. That's really all I’ve got to say I guess. It just doesn't hurt to be nice, to smile, to be kind,” she said.

“It's just those little simple things.”

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