A large yellow school bus nosily creaked to a stop out in front of Walmart Friday. Some 70 tiny feet filed out, careful in their excitement not to make too much noise as they waddled through the entrance.
Once teachers had neatly arranged the kindergartners in a single line of sorts, a banner was unraveled, nearly covering the tiny tots. With their smiling faces shining brightly over the butcher paper, expertly covered with brightly colored handprints and the painted message, “We love you grandma,” the object of their appreciation appeared.
Lynn Thompson or “Grandma” as the children all screamed, slowly approached the group, obviously moved and surprised by the unexpected visitors at her workplace.
“We love you Grandma Lynn!” the children shouted excitedly.
For the last three years, Thompson has actively volunteered in kindergarten classrooms at Julia Randall Elementary School. Using her supplies and ideas, Thompson leads students through various arts and crafts projects, from a Mother’s Day Easter lily project to a coffee can treasure box, the activities are too numerous to count.
On Friday, students thanked Thompson for her years of caring service, the same day Walmart honored her for 20 years of employment.
Thompson’s name was placed on a shiny laminate tile and placed near the front entrance, next to other veteran employee’s tiles.
Store Manager Quinn Cremer explained to students that although they couldn’t fit Grandma Lynn on the tile, they were able to get her full name in.
JRE kindergartners from Laura Hacker’s, Todd Police’s and Lynn Carpenter’s classes laughed, all beaming at Thompson.
Thompson, 71, said she has been volunteering at Payson elementary schools for the last 15 years.
“It is my way of giving back to the community,” she said.
When she first began volunteering, she told students they either had to call her Ms. Thompson or Grandma Lynn and the name “Grandma” stuck.
Thompson gushed that she cried when she saw the students, “I was shocked, I never expected it.”