Lots of folks ask me, “What’s the best thing about working at a cool place like Stonyfield?” The answer is: lots of stuff. It’s everything from our tasty yogurts to our support of family farmers to how the cows are treated like pets. It’s my great coworkers who share the same passion for all things sustainable and being proud of what we do every day to make awesome organic yogurt without any persistent pesticides, antibiotics or other stuff you don’t want on your spoon.

As I was thinking about it the other day though, it dawned on me that I was missing a key reason I love this place. Our fans.

I’ve been at Stonyfield for almost 11 years, eight of which were spent in our Consumer Relations department answering calls and emails and mail, oh my! We spend a lot of time talking to our consumers – we’re not a “read from a script” kind of place. We care about organic and we want you to know we care about the fact that you care about it too – and I truly mean that. I can’t count the number of folks I’ve talked to over the years but there are always a few who stand out, folks who you think – I’d love to hang out with this person in “real life.”

One of these folks is Clara. She’s been a fan for a long time and I was lucky enough to answer the phone the first time she called with a question a few years back. We immediately hit it off. She was 97 at the time and just adorable. Over the years, she’s called to ask questions and much to my delight, just to check in and see how I’m doing. She tells me stories of her life and what she’s up to now. She’s not a big fan of assisted living she tells me, but she’s making the best of it.

I’ve moved on from Consumer Relations but they know if Clara calls they better find me so I can talk to her. Yes, I’ve been paged and left meetings. I’m not by any means a quiet person so most of the office knows about Clara (mostly from me running through the halls with updates). “Hey everyone, Clara called today. Did you hear? She’s doing great!”

Clara has become a part of Stonyfield so on her 99th birthday I wanted to do something special. Click here to watch our surprise. You’ll want tissues handy – I went through one hundred.

Finally, on your birthday Clara, I want to say thanks. Thanks for being my friend and brightening my days with your calls. Thanks for reminding me what’s most important to us here at Stonyfield: all of you. (In particular, Clara, but you guys are alright, too).

Alison works in Marketing at Stonyfield.

After our surprise, I received a lovely email about Clara’s birthday.

“I work at Wyoming Manor. It was Clara’s 99th birthday and Alison called her. Flowers were sent, balloons and presents from all of you and the card that everyone signed was so touching. I have been working there for over two years now in the kitchen as dietary and cook and I have never seen anyone so touched on their birthday the way that you and your company touched her. I have so much respect for your thoughtfulness on her birthday and all through the year when you speak to her on the phone. Believe me when I tell you that you all made her day so special for her. She is 99, doesn’t wear glasses to read and is a very smart woman and loving person. I was very touched myself and had tears of joy in my own eyes.”