The Story of Curlie


Disclaimer 1. This is going to be a long one, but the details make it all so magical.

Disclaimer 2. This story is not about us, it’s about showing heartfelt appreciation and loving on others. Our motives were pure. We are sharing only so that you may in turn love on the “Curlie” in your path.


Curlie’s Story – Part 1 (Two Years Ago)

from In This House, We Will Giggle page 204

During one Disney outing on a December Saturday, the girls and I went into one of the sparkling clean restrooms. I was so glad to see a Disney employee in there so I could finally thank someone in person for those clean restrooms. I looked that beautiful woman in the eyes and genuinely thanked for her how hard she worked. I told her specifically how every time we visit Disney, every restroom is wonderfully clean and always stocked with supplies. I explained the difference this makes for me, as a mom bringing my kids to the park. She absolutely beamed! She proceeded to tell me her name was Ms. Curlie and that she had worked for Disney for twenty-four years. Ella and Larson listened as she described her love for her job and the glass case in her home where she displays special gifts and honors from the company. At the end of our chat, we hugged and Ella snapped a photo of this fun moment. Then we bounced out, waving good-bye to our new friend.

As we walked away, I said to the girls, “I wish we had something to give her.”

My precious Ella immediately said, “Mom, give her my new pin.” My heart filled with joy as I dug in my purse for my daughter’s brand-new pin she had carefully selected as her memento for the day. She said, “Can I take it to her?”

With a deep sense of pride and love, I said, “You bet, sweetie.”

Ella, Larson, and I giggled with joy and ran back to the sparkling restroom. “Merry Christmas!” we declared as Ella presented her gift. Our new friend beamed again and said, “Thank you! This will go in my glass case!”


Curlie’s Story – Part 2 (Dec 2014)

Since we are local, we get to go quite a bit to Disney which is such a huge privilege. We have wanted to find her again so badly. I even asked one of her coworkers (about a month ago) if she was still there. He smiled and said, “Oh yes, always right here on Main Street, Casey’s Corner.” We had just missed her for that day.

When I found out that we would be attending the Disney Christmas Party with my college roommate, I knew this was the night we would try to find Curlie and LIGHT HER UP! She had no idea her story was in my book and I was telling it on my book tour and it was touching lives. I had to let her know and love on her again.

But how to find her? I called one friend that worked there and no luck.

I happened to shout out the window during carpool at my friend Tami (who works at Disney), “Hey! We are going to find Ms Curlie Friday night! I’m so excited! I hope she is working.”

And would you believe it? By 8 am the next morning, Tami was calling with the name of Curlie’s boss and her cell phone. I was shaking. So fun! Her boss was IN on the fun. This seems normal, but people there are 60,000 cast members. Only God.

Making the plan

I immediately called her boss Donna who couldn’t wait to help make it special for Curlie – so deserving!

Before I left, here is how I prepared. I was concerned more about how she FELT more than how awesome the gifts looked.

  • I went onto Facebook and asked the “In This House, We Will Giggle” fan page to pray – since they would know right away who she was.
  • I picked up the girls early from school and told a class of 2nd graders with BIG eyes what we were doing and asked them to pray at 4:00
  • I put cash in an envelope for Curlie and wrote her a note to remind her that she is so loved.
  • I signed her book with such pride and joy.
  • I grabbed half of a gift box from our garage that would be our sign. Sturdy and just the right size.
  • I threw markers in the car for the girls to color that sign and also their bag of Disney pins so they could pick out two more for her glass case.

And we headed down… with chills on arms and butterflies in my stomach.


It was time!

We went through the gates and met up with my college buddy Bec. We passed my phone to her and hugged her kids. Then, our entire crew quickly followed Donna as she escorted us “behind the scenes” of City Hall to this. Curlie was waiting and had no idea WHY.

Special notes:

  • As you heard in video – it’s not 24 years of service – it’s 41!!!! And 25 years of perfect attendance.
  • She recognized my face right away from two years ago.
  • This was her face when I told he she was in my book.


  • One of the guys standing there (holding his trash pick-her-upper) thing – came in just to watch. He was the ONE I stopped on Main Street a month ago when I was looking for her. He smiled like an angel to say “we did it. we found her.”
  • Donna and the other two in management – tears.
  • Bec behind the camera – tears.


  • My kids and Bec’s kids – watching and learning. Hearts full (I asked them).
  • Curlie said “This was the most special day of my life (at work).”
  • As we left the room, one of the Disney cast members handed us a stack of fast passes and the kids went wild. So Curlie made it possible for my Larson and her friend Mollie to walk right up to Elsa. And the big kids to tackle the Mine Train.


  • I got a text from Donna 20 minutes later when I was on a ride, “She is still shaking.”
  • Her daughter found me on Instagram to thank me for loving on her mom in such a way.


My Encouragement To You

Please remember this is not about me or my family. It’s about Curlie and the Curlies in your life. It takes such little time to stop and say thank you to those cleaning the bathroom or anyone doing their job well. It doesn’t matter where or what. Just think, of all the cast members in that park -we met her. And I just don’t believe that’s by chance. I have a new lifelong friend.


I could feel  in her hands. In her hug. She needed this moment to the core of her heart. And God knew that. I count it a privilege truly to just play a part. So, I encourage you to take a step of courage – even when you feel silly or won’t know the reaction. If you notice someone doing a great job in any job. Or, your family has been uniquely touched by an organization or experience (like we have with Disney) – just let them know. And maybe let them know in a big way.


I can guarantee this – YOU will be blessed maybe even more than that person.

This was one of the very best days in my life. I want to show heartfelt appreciation and remind people they are noticed and loved – every day.

Light ‘Em Up friends.


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  1. Oh my goodness, what an amazing moment!! I am thrilled for Ms. Curlie. God was in the details and this moment will be treasured by many! Love is the greatest gift of all and your family shared that love.

  2. Courtney!! This was such a fun story…even brought tears to my eyes…lol. I’m on holidays in Orlando right now with my 3 little girls (one named Ella :)…we are heading to Disney this week…how fun it would be to run into Curlie!! I have been reading your book…it is so great!!! I’m trying to teach my children each day to Light ‘Em Up!! Thank you for sharing with us such practical ways to do this! You are a Blessing!!

  3. oh my goodness! i cannot stop my tears – i felt like my heart was going to burst as i read this post – i actually had to stop to wipe my eyes because i couldn’t see the words anymore. what an amazing experience and what a difference you made in her life – i know you will both carry that in your hearts forever. and your kids! what a wonderful experience for them to witness – you are raising little guardian angles – thank you for sharing – so glad He touched your heart to love on Curlie part 2 and that He made a way!

  4. Loved loved this story!!!! I teared up as well. So touching and beautiful! It’s the little things that truly count and will be remembered 🙂 bravo!

  5. Love this story and how special it was! I was pulling up your blog to get some ‘light em up’ ideas for the kids and I, and stumbled on this story. Needless to say I’m a sobbing mess. (Tears of joy!) This story was so touching. You do amazing things Courtney. I look forward to teaching my girls the grattitude you teach to yours. Merry Christmas!

  6. This, my friend, is why I have loved following you for so long. You just get it! It’s not about us and what we do! But, by you sharing – you have inspired us all! Thank you for loving Curlie up!

  7. What a beautiful gift of recognition you gave this lovely lady! We all need praise and love and she so well deserved it. May you and your children’s holiday be extra special and filled with the love you gave this sweet lady who cares for others in a very ordinary way. Yet you gave her a very extraordinary gift of love and holiday cheer! Merry Christmas Courtney!

  8. My friend and I recently took a class that helps people decide what God wants them to do with their lives. We had already decided that- because we love other people’s junk- we would open a thrift store and wanted to use the items and the income to help those in need. God immediately started to send us the sick, the hungry, the cold, and the homeless. We haven’t opened our store yet but people are already giving us items to share with others and our 5 children from our 2 families are already seeing how wonderful it is to help others and fulfill your God-given purpose in life-to love one another!

  9. Thank you for sharing. How exciting. Although my kids are older now I am still teaching them to enjoy what God has given them and use their talents for Him. I want them to enjoy life to the fullest and not grow up to live with the fears/anxieties I have.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing, and I can’t wait to get your book. My husband and I just adopted a 10 year old girl from Haiti. We were amazed how quickly (7 weeks) she has become immersed into our material culture. It is hard bc everyone wants to give her toys and clothes, and she has some medical problem so she is always getting prizes at the doctors. So we started a graitude jar, make her sit down immediately and create/color a thank you note when she gets a gift and other ways to try to instill gratitude. She blessed us this week by making a gingerbread house and then “gifting” it to a little boy in our neighborhood who was admiring it. We became parents overnight to a 10 year old who didn’t speak a word of english, although she is learning quickly, and we to raise our daughter in a fun home, filled with love, and gratitude. I am so glad there is a book I can go buy to help me with that, because she didn’t come with an instructional manuel. We are relying on God completely!!!!

  11. My girls are teenagers now and as I think about our short time left together, I want to make the best of it. Thank you for reminding me that my example speaks loudest. Thank you for reminding me that it is never too late to make a difference in their impressionable lives. I hope they are learning more and more about God’s abundant grace. As I mess up and meet His mercy, I can only pray that they see just how loved they are and how precious they are in His sight.

  12. I cried this morning when I saw this. I love the title of this. I know what I want to do for the rest of my life. As stay at home moms we struggle to find our worth. What a life changing thing we can do for others!!! Thank you. I plan to read the book and apply these truths with my almost 5 yr. old and 7 yr. old!

  13. Beautiful! Kids are ALWAYS watching, even when we don’t notice. Sometimes kids feel entitled so I keep showing them how blessed we are. My kids are 9 and 6 and I make a conscious effort to show them reality (sick kids, homeless, etc.) And keep them evolved through giving.

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