It all started earlier in the week with a Facebook post of praise by a 2013 graduate of Newtown High School. “You may all know Eunice as the owner of Bagel Delight here on Church Hill Rd in Newtown. Today, like many other days, she characterized what Newtown is really about. I told her about how I was heading back to Boston to take final exams and she could tell I was stressed out. After ordering the (excellent) egg and cheese bagel, she proceeded to hand me three enormous bags full of bagels to bring back to college. Eunice, you ARE Newtown and you show us that it doesn't have to be one of the 26 Days of Kindness to be kind.”
The post elicited 70 comments bestowing more lavish praise on Eunice Laverty, longtime owner of the Church Hill Road eatery, such as “Eunice is the best. Always kind.”
“Eunice is such a wonderful person. She IS Newtown!”
“Eu-NICE! Love her! XO.”
“She always brightens my mornings!”
“Not everyone would be so welcoming to hordes of middle schoolers — many not purchasing — each Friday. Eunice is one of Newtown's gems!”
By midweek, residents had rallied to create “We Love Eunice Day,” for Friday, December 20. Suggested by Sue Primevera, Sue Hendrickson Vogelman created the event page, and Facebook was soon all atwitter with notices to join in.
Knowing that Ms Laverty did not follow Facebook, Ms Primevera posted, “I often try to figure a way to show my appreciation and gratitude for Eunice to her, but I am always at a loss -- nothing seems big enough! How about we declare 12/20 (the last Friday before Xmas) we love Eunice day? Bring her one flower or a note -- have your kids who frequent when walking do the same. What do you all think? We are Newtown and if we pass this idea around maybe we could let her know how special she is to all of us? Who's in??!”
On Friday morning, Ms Vogelman was busy taping up a list of names that numbered nearly 350, all people who had liked the event page and agreed to join in on celebrating the local bagel maven.
“She had no idea,” Ms Vogelman said. “I showed her the print out of We Love Eunice Day when I got here, and she just shook her head in disbelief,” she said.
As the line of customers snaked from the door to the counter, Ms Laverty and her staff were behind the counter toasting bagels, spreading cream cheese, and taking care of business as usual. A small altar of gifts built up on one section of the counter — tokens of appreciation from Ms Laverty’s Newtown customers. Near the cash register, a vase overflowed with roses from admirers, and more than once, someone slipped behind the counter to hand a gift certificate to her.
Jim Sullivan had seen the event on Facebook, and as he waited for his order commented, “This is long overdue. Eunice is the best, and a real asset to the town.”
People’s United Bank mangers Carole Georges and Dan Krauss arrived to order bagels and drop off a tall slender “beverage” for Ms Laverty to enjoy later.
“I love the warmth you feel when you come here,” said Ms Georges. “Eunice is so generous, too. She had donated gift certificates and bagels to several community events I’ve been involved in,” she added.
Ms Laverty had little to say as she paused between orders. “It’s just overwhelming,” she said, “just so overwhelming.”
Ms Sullivan peeked into his paper bag as he picked up his order.
“Not surprised,” he said. “There’re always a couple extra bagels in my order.”