When Joan Graves tweeted a picture of DJ saying, “My special needs son who can’t chew LOVES your mashed potatoes so much he wants his birthday party there,” she could never have imagined what would happen next.
Joan had recently discovered Culver’s on the way home from one of DJ’s physical therapy appointments. Knowing her son has trouble eating solid food, she noticed Mashed Potatoes & Gravy on the menu and decided to place an order. The Mashed Potatoes were an instant hit; DJ used sign language to ask for more.
During the Graves’ next visit to the restaurant, DJ, who has trouble speaking, started blowing on his mashed potatoes as if there were candles on it. Understanding what DJ was trying to say, his mom asked him, “Do you want to go to Culver’s for your birthday?” to which he replied, “Yes!”
When Charlie and Wendy Jordan, owners of the Culver’s of Georgetown, found out about DJ’s birthday wish, they offered to treat him and his family to a party at their restaurant. After the time and date were set, Wendy picked up a few party balloons at the store, and Charlie gathered a few Culver’s prizes for a gift.
On the day of DJ’s 16th birthday, he and his family were welcomed at the door and team members surprised DJ with gifts. They even wrote “Happy Birthday, DJ” on the Culver’s sign outside the restaurant.
A few days after the party, the Graves invited Charlie over to their home where they surprised him with a plaque that read: “Thank you. Love, DJ.”
When asked about the party, Charlie shared, “It just wasn’t for us; it was for a bigger cause. And the team members really took the experience to heart.”