Michigan women raise spirits with a wave during a pandemic

Hometown Heroes

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NewsNation Now) — Two cousins have spent every single morning since the beginning of coronavirus closures sharing a smile and a wave from a Michigan corner.

Gail Broekema and Kolleen Bruinooge earned the nickname “Biggby Ladies” for spending every morning sitting along the sidewalk outside the Plainfield Township Biggby Coffee.

The tradition began when the cousins started working out a local Planet Fitness down the road at the start of the year. After the duo would head to Biggby for coffee.

That changed when Michigan shut down gyms and restaurant dine-in services in March in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“So we started meeting here every day still and sitting in my car, still having my coffee,” Broekema explained. “Then about the middle of March, it got very warm out and we thought, ‘Let’s bring the chairs out. Let’s sit outside.’”

For a few hours each morning , Broekema and Bruinooge would smile and wave at cars as they drive by.

“The kindness and generosity of people is so overwhelming,” Bruinooge said. 

Strangers have left gift cards at the drive-thru window of the coffee shop or brought food and gifts for the women.

“We had a lady stop by one day and she and her husband made raspberry jam and she dropped by and gave us each a jar of jam and another lady gave us hearty mums,” Broekema said.

The cousins didn’t expect this response but said they appreciate that people are enjoying their simple gesture.

“For the most part, people are getting it,” Broekema said. “We just want to make you happy. We just want to do a good thing. We want to bring some positivity to a time that’s not so positive right now.”

Though the “Biggby Ladies” started because of the shutdown, the daily hellos are part of a new routine they plan to keep once gyms reopen — as long as the Michigan weather cooperates. 

NewsNation affiliate WOOD contributed to this report.

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