Michigan Home Depot employees build mailbox for autistic boy: ‘It was perfect’

Seven-year-old Cameron English is obsessed with mailboxes.

“He is fascinated with opening and closing the door, hiding things inside of it and raising and lowering the flag,” Denise Haight, Cameron’s grandmother, told Fox News on Friday, adding that Cameron, who has autism and is nonverbal, even has a “little people” mailbox that he places near the side of the tub when he takes a bath.

It’s because of Cameron’s fascination that Haight decided to build her grandson a personalized mailbox for his birthday. But there was one issue: she was unsure how to start the project, which two Home Depot employees in Gaylord, Michigan astutely noticed when she was at the store looking for supplies last week.

mailbox 2

Two Home Depot employees show off Cameron’s mailbox.

 (Denise Haight)

“I had an idea of what I was trying to construct — I had gone in to get parts and pieces and try to create something. But I think they looked at me and thought, ‘she looks like she’s confused,’” Haight recalled.

That’s when the Home Depot associates — Store Manager Gary Malak and Territory Operations Manager Lorel Woodard — approached her, offering to help.

“I explained the story about Cameron, and that it was his birthday, and that I had an idea about what I was trying to do,” she said.

Haight said Malak and Woodard helped her to brainstorm, asking a variety of questions about material, height and more.

“Do you trust me?” Haight said Malak eventually asked her. A bit confused, Haight replied that she did. At that point, he told her to come back to the store on Saturday.

So, a few days later, Haight returned. When she arrived, Haight couldn’t believe what she saw: A mailbox that was “exactly what I was imagining,” she said.

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“Never in a million years do you think that something like that will come your way,” Haight said of the kind gesture.

 (Denise Haight)

Haight then asked the associates how much she owed for the mailbox, as there was no price tag attached to it. But Malak was quick to inform her that it was free of charge. 

“He only wanted us to tell Cameron a ‘happy birthday’ from Home Depot,” she said.

What’s more, the three employees who were commissioned to build the mailbox — currently identified only as Gene, Laura and Don — packed it full of toys, a small stuffed bear and a Home Depot apron for Cameron to wear.

“I cried and hugged them,” Haight said of her reaction.

On Sunday, Haight brought the mailbox to Cameron’s birthday party at a local park. After noticing the mailbox, “the look on his face was just amazing,” she said.

“Never in a million years do you think that something like that will come your way.”

– Denise Haight

In return for all the kindness, Haight said she plans to frame a collage of pictures that show the Home Depot employees building the mailbox to the point where Cameron received the gift.

“Never in a million years do you think that something like that will come your way,” Haight said of the kind gesture, adding that she and the rest of her family have been “awe-inspired” by the reactions they’ve received to the story. 

As of Friday afternoon, Haight’s Facebook post detailing the event had more than 7,000 reactions, 3,000 shares and 600 comments.

“It’s breaking our hearts to see the kindness, even when it comes to autism itself,” she said. “Cameron is different than the other children his age, but he is such a special little boy.”

In a statement to Fox News, a representative for Home Depot said that the company “loves to hear these stories” but declined to comment further. 

Malak and Woodard did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

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