A five-year-old boy who misses visiting Poundland with his mum has been sent an official uniform and Employee of the Month badge by his local store.
Little Harry Lord loves to go shopping with mum Melanie, 31, at their local branch of the budget store in North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Harry, who is autistic, loves numbers and mathematics.
His mum says he will happily add up the total of her shopping as she goes around the store, picking items off the shelves.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Harry hasn’t been able to visit his favourite shop for a year, since last January.
But the staff at the North Quay branch of Poundland, who have got to know happy little Harry well over the last couple of years, decided to let their star customer know they haven’t forgotten about him.
And Harry was delighted when he received a special package in the post – containing his very own official Poundland uniform, and an Employee of the Month badge to go with it.
Mum-of-two Melanie, who runs independent online gift shop Butterbean Bizarre, said: “It’s amazing – they’ve really gone out of their way to make him feel special.
“As far as I’m aware, he is the only child to ever receive a Poundland uniform from the actual store.
“They’ve gone above and beyond just to put a smile on his face and let him know they are still thinking of him.
“It was much needed at a time like this, when there’s so much doom and gloom around.
“It just shows there is still some kindness left in the world.”
Melanie, who is also mum to Harry’s younger sister Jessica, three, said she has been taking Harry to Poundland since he was around two or three years old.
She said: “He got really into it. He’s really intelligent – children with autism usually have one thing that they’re really into, and for Harry that’s maths.
“Because everything in Poundland sells for a nice round number – like exactly one pound, or exactly two pounds – he would start totting up the total of my shopping as we went around the shop.
“The staff in there were always so lovely to him, too. He just loves the atmosphere in there, he would always be so excited to go.”
But Melanie has not taken Harry to Poundland with her since January 2020 – because of the Covid-19 restrictions, and the changes made within the store.
She said: “There has been a lot of change in the last year, which is hard for someone like Harry to deal with.
“I think it would be hard for him to take in all the changes within the store.”
But now, thanks to his new uniform and Poundland badge, Harry can dress up at home and pretend he is back in his favourite shop.
Harry even has a playhouse at home which he has filled with toy shopping items to pretend it is his own branch of Poundland.
And last summer, the North Quay Retail Park store also sent him a string of Poundland bunting, and a few strips of price stickers – so he really does have his own miniature Poundland store at home.
Melanie said: “At least this way, he can play Poundland at home in his playhouse, and still have that memory of how he knows the shop to be, rather than how it looks now in Covid times.”
And she added: “The store has said that once things are all back to normal, he can come in and have a little behind the scenes tour, and they’ll let him scan a few things – which will make him so happy.”
A spokesperson for Poundland said: “Harry is a huge fan of Poundland and is a regular with his mum at the Lowestoft store.
“His mum tells us Harry loves playing Poundland at home with his family, especially at the moment while he’s being home schooled.
“Being such a fan, Richard the store manager wanted to gift Harry with his very own Poundland uniform, toy lorry and a colleague of the month badge.
“They plan on inviting Harry for a behind-the-scenes tour of the store when the lockdown ends – he’s already an honorary member of the store’s #Proudland team.”