April DiDonna has been telling customers she loves them since October. It’s been reciprocated 2,549 times. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

April DiDonna has been telling customers she loves them since October. It’s been reciprocated 2,549 times. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Wendy’s manager shares the love one drive-thru customer at a time

April DiDonna tells Oak Harbor Wendy’s customers she cares.

April DiDonna just wants her customers to know they are loved.

DiDonna, a lifelong Oak Harbor resident and assistant store manager at Wendy’s, tells her customers in the drive-thru that she loves them. If they say it back, she puts a tally on the wall.

There are 2,549 tallied so far on the wall.

It all began on Oct. 3 when the idea just came to her to tell a customer she loved him.

“What I feel and what I believe is that if people can hate for no reason, then why can’t I love?” DiDonna explained.

The man was impressed enough that he wrote about it in a customer survey. DiDonna read the survey and decided to just keep saying it.

The next day she met a woman and told her she loved her. Then a coworker told DiDonna she was needed outside. She found the woman crying in her car. The woman wanted to thank DiDonna because her husband and brother had died recently.

“‘I don’t have anyone there to tell me they love me anymore,’” DiDonna said the woman told her.

DiDonna could empathize with the woman because her own husband died in July 2019.

“I’ve risen. I’m just going forward spreading love,” DiDonna said.

The customer thanked DiDonna for her caring words, and the two talked for a bit longer and ended the conversation laughing.

DiDonna started keeping a count of the numbers after that.

“I feel like a lot of the community enjoys it,” she said.

“A lot of people are now driving up to the speaker and telling us that they love us before we even take their order.”

There has been at least one customer who responds in kind every day since then, DiDonna said.

“It’s just really awesome. It’s really nice to see the positivity and the love that’s flowing,” she said.

“People need to know that you don’t need to hate people, and all you need to do is spread love. Love will be the way if we open our eyes and choose to see that love is the answer.”

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