A KIND business owner fulfilled a special promise to the family of a 12-year-old Cork girl who passed away tragically last May.
Anthony O'Reilly, who owns the Donut Bar in Tramore, was so touched by Abi McGeough's story he decided to name his new crepe bar after the inspiring 12-year-old. Abi from Dublin Hill, who had cerebral palsy, enjoyed trips to Tramore during her short life and was a regular customer at the Donut Bar. Leslieann had promised to take her daughter to visit the donut joint after lockdown. Tragically, she didn't live long enough to experience that happy day. Despite her grief, Leslieann was determined to take the trip there with a friend as a tribute to Abi. Anthony said he was in awe of Leslieann's strength and wanted to do something to honour her daughter's name.
"I remember Abi coming in here even though I knew nothing about her story at the time," he said. "She had the most beautiful smile and was so full of life. We had initially planned to just call it the Crepe Bar. However, it belongs to Abi and will always belong to Abi."
Leslieann had the honour of cutting the ribbon as well as serving up the very first crepe.
"I thought that coming back here was an incredible thing for Leslieann to do. We have customers who can longer come back because it reminds them of the happy times they spent with a parent or partner who has passed on. We can't imagine how difficult returning was for Leslieann considering that she lost a child."
He explained how he came up with the idea.
"I couldn't help but notice that Leslieann was remembering being here with Abi and all the happy times they had shared together. I thought if we made the crepe bar a bit more girly and named it after Abi it might give Leslieann a little sprinkling of happiness. I asked Leslieann with trepidation as I was unsure if it was even appropriate. She was very appreciative and it was lovely to see just how much support she had on the day of the opening. It turned out to be a very happy occasion."
He said that his staff were deeply touched by Abi's story.
"This has had a real effect on staff and reminded them that every customer has their own story. If we hadn't heard about Leslieann's story she might have walked through these doors without anyone knowing the turmoil she was going through. This has reminded our staff of why it's always so important to be nice and respectful to customers."