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Girl gets the surprise of a lifetime from Mary Poppins

From the New Hamburg Independent, by Adam Jackson – July 27, 2017
Photo credits Adam Jackson

When Emily Nash entered TLC Pet Food, she instantly recognized him.

“Where’s Mary?” the four-year-old asked Trevor Middleton, better known as Bert from The Community Players’ rendition of Mary Poppins back in May.

Middleton, a customer service rep for TLC, instantly switched on the unmistakable cockney accent and told Emily that Mary wasn’t able to make it because of the weather, but if she comes back another day, Mary could make an appearance.

As it turns out, Joanna Guistini-Wilkinson, who played the lead role in the musical, was just down the hall. She’s the sales manager at TLC Pet Food.

So Guistini-Wilkinson and Middleton made arrangements with Emily, as well as her mother Erin, to come back a few days later to visit with Mary.

In the meantime, the staff at TLC scrambled to gather treats for Erin, Emily, and her younger brother Flynn, who is 18 months old.

They had cupcakes made by New Hamburg’s Sweets, special with silver spoons on top, as well as strawberry ice cake. Along with that was all the Mary Poppins fixings — candy.

On Thursday, when Emily arrived at TLC Pet Foods, after a brief peek through the window, her eyes lit up when she saw Bert sitting there reading the paper.

“Where’s Mary?” she asked quickly.

Emily was led into the boardroom around the corner, where Mary Poppins (Guistini-Wilkinson) was waiting.

The group shared in song, cupcakes, and candy, as Guistini-Wilkinson and Middleton kept in character to give Emily the full experience.

Emily, skeptical at first, eventually bought in and joined along.

Emily’s adventure to see one of her favourite characters was a little more sentimental as well. Flynn, who was diagnosed with a type of brain dysplasia, has been the centre of attention for the family, admits Erin. With seizures and constant checkups at the doctor, there was little room for Emily.

“It’s always about Flynn, Flynn, Flynn,” said Erin. “When I told Emily that Mary Poppins was coming to see her, she couldn’t believe it.”

Erin had also been dealing with postpartum depression and was working hard to get things going in the right direction.

Emily’s love for Mary Poppin’s started at TCP’s production of the classic back in May. Erin’s mother bought tickets for her three daughters, as well as her three granddaughters, Emily being one of those.

“She loved it,” said Erin.


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