Fast food friendship nourishes the soul

“They were that Friday night couple you could always count on,” manager Aaron Sungaard said.

Bebe knew all the employees, and they knew her. They also knew she liked the extra chocolate with her dessert.

“She had a hot fudge malt or sundae … always with very hot fudge, and they took great care of her,” said Bebe’s daughter, Kathy Connell.

“She was kind of that grandmother figure that we had at the restaurant. I think she just liked the atmosphere,” Sungaard said.

What started with hot fudge sundaes has turned into a friendship.

In fact, Bebe would often call Sungaard on his cell phone to chat. He always took time for her. Then, about a year ago, Bebe’s failing health and the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from making regular visits to Culver’s.

So Sungaard began to bring Culver to him.

“They couldn’t drive last year, so I just wanted to bring the experience to them because they were very loyal customers,” he said.

It became their ritual until Bebe passed away this fall at the age of 86.

The ritual was so meaningful that Bebe’s family decided to have part of their “Celebration of Life” at Culver’s. They closed the restaurant to the public and opened the ice cream bar in honor of Bebe.

They are sure that Bebe would have approved.

“I think every act of kindness is so important and you can’t understand how it touches someone’s life. It might not seem like a big deal but it really is a gift,” said Connell.

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