CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - A local restaurant made a dying woman's wish for a treat from back home come true.
Over the last 47 years, Tommy's Restaurant on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights has served up thousands of milkshakes, but none as meaningful as one mocha shake last month.
“This was my first request like this,” said owner Tommy Fello. “I wasn't even sure if we'd be able to do it.”
The special order came from Cleveland Heights native Emily Pomeranz, who lived near Washington D.C. and was in hospice with a second bout of pancreatic cancer.
“As she was doing her swan song as she liked to say, I said, ‘Hey, is there anything you're going to miss in terms of food”?’ And she said, ‘What I would do right now for a Tommy's mocha milkshake,’” said longtime friend and fellow Cleveland Heights native Sam Klein, who also lives in the D.C. area.
Klein reached to Fello, who set out to make it happen.
“It touched my heart, and I said, ‘boy, I'd love to be able to do something.’”
After pulling together dry ice donated by Pierre’s ice cream, packaging a frozen shake and paying a $123 overnight shipping bill, Fello got a mocha milkshake to Pomeranz’s hospice room in Arlington, Virginia. A photo showed her smiling and holding the shake.
“Seeing her in that picture was just something else, I'll tell ya. What a reward,” Fello said. “I was so happy it worked. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, and Sam called me and said it worked. We called it the ‘Milkshake Mission’ or something like that, ‘Mission Impossible.’”
Pomeranz passed away Friday, but the milkshake mission lives on. Klein posted the story on Facebook, and it’s been shared hundreds of times.
“She got a lot of momentum out of not only being able to enjoy something as special as a childhood nostalgic milkshake but the fact so many people were smiling about her,” Klein said. “A lot of people have said 'this made me feel good' and I know Emily would love the fact that she's making people feel good even though she's not here with us anymore.”
Klein’s post asked others to visit Tommy’s Restaurant to order a milkshake for Pomeranz and thank Fello for his small act of kindness that made a big difference.
“What they say is true, giving is more important than receiving,” Fello said. “It's a better reward.”