Eric's Heroes: The cookie lady who offers more than just sugar
There is a lady in Ballard who has such happy goodness bubbling up from inside her, that she really has no choice...she has to do something to make people happy.
It's a Monday. And without a mixer, in a tiny kitchen, she bakes cookies.
Batch after batch.
"Well, what should I say? I started out because I wanted to and now, it's sort of a compulsion," said Joyce Crandall.
Joyce is 89 years old.
"I just like helping people. I don't know why. I was born in this teeny tiny town in North Dakota and maybe that has something to do with it, I don't know," she said.
Joyce bakes a hundred cookies every Monday morning.
She boxes them up carefully and every time she bakes, Joyce chooses a different recipe. She has hundreds in a little box.
Joyce keeps a detailed diary of her sweetness...when and what she bakes.
The on Tuesday, as seniors stretch out and loosen up in front of the Woodland Park Zoo, the cookie lady shows up and pulls out her rolling cookie cart.
And a whole bunch of them start on their walk. They stop to look at lions, and the lions look back at them.
They look at monkeys, and monkeys look back.
And at the end of the walk, they stop for coffee at the food pavilion and that's when the cookie lady gets busy.
She takes them to the food court workers and the ticket booth workers.
It's the next morning, Wednesday, and she's back at it.
"I'm making icebox cookies today," Joyce said.
Batch after batch, another hundred cookies packed away. Because on Thursday, the zoo walkers get together again.
They look at the animals, get their exercise, make friends and connect with the world.
And then they get their coffee, and there's Joyce again, making the rounds.
Dolling out her brand of love.
"It's a feeling normally you would only get with family, but this is our family here at the zoo....and she's a very loving person," Ruth said.
And so does Sharon.
"She is the most genuine, lovable person in the world," Sharon said.
Joyce bakes on Monday to share on Tuesday, and bakes on Wednesday to share on Thursday.
She does it because it's nice to be needed. Because it is better to give than to receive. She does it because she knows a very, very important secret: life is too short not to be sweet.