Kids & Family

Class Of 2020 Gets Sweet Surprise, Thanks To One Business Owner's Act Of Kindness

After he shared his generous offer on social media, others signed on to do the same for students in their communities.


I was dropping my daughter off at daycare this morning when I overheard another parent talking about the local high school graduates and how the car parade they had planned last week to celebrate their achievements was cancelled due to the weather.

"Those kids just can't catch a break," the woman said.

She was referring to the fact that, due to Covid-19, graduation ceremonies and celebrations have been canceled or moved online for most seniors in the country.

Thankfully, there are people in the world who are doing what they can to give students in their communities something to smile about.

Bill Hanisch owns Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop in the town of Red Wing, MN. After watching a coronavirus pandemic briefing last month where the governor of Minnesota shared some kind words about his town, Hanisch was inspired to do something special for the community.

Bill Hanisch wanted to give the graduating students in his town something to smile about.Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop/Facebook

"I just knew we had to do something for these kids graduating from Red Wing High School," Hanisch, who himself graduated from Red Wing in 1988, told Today.

After coming up with the idea, he shared a post to social media and let his cake decorator know that every graduating senior was to receive a free, two-layer cake decorated with the school's colors.

Not long after he made the post, Hanisch got a call from a resident in the nearby town of Goodhue who wanted to do something similar for the students in their district.

"I was floored!" Hanisch said. "The next day, I did another post announcing the Goodhue cakes. Next thing I know, a lady from Cannon Falls contacts me and wants to support her seniors! I posted that video the next day and then the rest is history."

Soon, Hanisch's phone was ringing off the hook with calls from people wanting to do provide cake donations for the seniors in their towns. The rush of orders is giving Hanisch's business a much-needed boost after experiencing a dramatic loss in revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our coffee shop that seats 50 is closed. Our wholesale business was decimated with restaurant shut downs," he said. "June is typically one of our best months, but as of right now, we can't reopen our coffee shop yet, and the wholesale is slowly coming back."

Hanisch's act of kindness caught on and he started getting orders from other towns. Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop/Facebook

For Red Wing students, the cakes are personalized with their names and they get to choose the flavor. Other, larger orders for neighboring schools get the message, "Congrats Grad 2020," spelled out on their cakes with colorful icing.

In a touching Facebook post, Hanisch reflected on the experience of making over 1,000 cakes for graduating teenagers who "are experiencing what should be the biggest night and week of their young lives."

"I am so thankful and proud of my employees and the communities that came together to make this idea happen for over 800 Graduating Teenagers," he wrote. "We showed our kids that community pride is still very strong and that no matter what your future holds we will always be a place to call home."

How can you start something good?

We love this act of kindness for graduating seniors!


Why not take Hanisch's lead and do something kind for high school graduates in your community? You can bake them cookies, make care packages, or take part in parades or any other celebrations the district might have planned.


Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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