Teen With Cerebral Palsy Takes Senior Photos In Starbucks After Getting Rained Out

"When you get rained out of your senior session ... you go to Starbucks!"

Sydney Johansson planned to get her high school senior photos taken at Garden of the Gods, a public park in Colorado Springs, Colo. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on the 17-year-old's side and it began pouring rain the day the shoot was meant to take place.

Johansson has cerebral palsy and couldn't reschedule because she was having major surgery later in the month.

Photographer, Jessica Vallia, explained on her Facebook page that she and Johansson's mom, Laura Principe Johansson, were driving around wondering what to do when Principe Johansson suggested they try Starbucks.

They approached the barista at the counter and explained the situation and how the high school senior uses a wheelchair. 


Not only did employees at Starbucks then allow Johansson to do her photo shoot in the cafe, but they made sure she felt extra comfortable and special.

Starbucks supervisor, Christian "Chris" Lopez , gave them his umbrella, helped get Johansson out of the pouring rain, and ensured she had a dry towel inside.

Vallia adds in a Love What Matters post that when everyone got back inside, they were "greeted with hot chocolates made with soy milk because they were unsure of allergies."

The staff continued to make the photo shoot as enjoyable as possible throughout the hour they were shooting.

They personalized the space with cards for Johansson, rearranged furniture, created backdrops, and refused to let Johansson and the photography team pay for their drinks.

The best thing of all is that the experience was a blast for Johansson. Her mom wrote on Facebook that her daughter was "smiling away" and "so happy" throughout the entire thing.

"There were serious tears from all after taking in everything from yesterday's senior session," Vallia wrote. "I just wanted [Johansson] to have the average senior session, like any other girl, and instead she got THE RED CARPET in a way I couldn't have been more proud to be a part of!"

"It was incredible. [Lopez] was almost like our knight in shining armor. I couldn't believe how nice this kid was," Principe Johansson told People.

Vallia and Principe Johansson weren't the only ones touched by the generosity of the Starbucks staff. After the story and photo shoot were shared online, they went viral. As of July 20, Vallia's Facebook post had reached 2.5 million people from around the world.

She shared a follow-up post thanking people who shared their messages of support and love. "Everyone who loves this story, you rock for seeing the good we all saw in that young man," she wrote. "And for everyone who Sydney's story has touched (and the outpouring of admiration for her hair, her outfit, her smiles, and her eyes), thank you! I've known her going on 9 years and I can say this means the world to her family who already knew she was perfect."

She added, "Eventually the story will pass. I just hope the next big viral thing is a positive one. I hope out of this we all realize we're thirsty in a big way for positive and good in our lives and on our social media."

She hopes that people are inspired to spread kindness and help to those around them every day, the way Chris and the staff at Starbucks did for Johansson. 

(H/T: PopSugar)


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