WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As Amy Wright enters the door, tears are shed and hugs are shared at Bitty and Beau’s. 36 hours after being named the CNN Hero of the Year, Wright had no clue so many people would be at the coffee shop to congratulate her when she returned.
“I knew when I showed up for work, we would have a dance party and just celebrate. But I had no idea that so many people would show up and surprise me like this,” Wright said.
They had plenty of balloons and cake to celebrate the honor. A moment Wright says is still hard to believe.
“When they called my name, you could have pushed me over with a feather.I mean it was honestly the biggest surprise and just so validating because I feel like our employees now. People all over the world know who they are. Know what they’re worth is. And that’s the biggest prize of all,” Wright said.
The first things that came to her mind when she won was her kids.
“Bitty and Beau. And, I thought of them sitting there at home in front of the television and i thought ‘Oh my gosh. What’s happening at home right now’ and I later did see the video tape of the celebration that they had, so it was awesome,” Wright said.
With the honor, Wright also received $100,000. She says while they want to expand their business, she also hopes people get something else out of this.
“I hope that people see what’s happened here and go back to their businesses and say ‘how can we incorporate someone with a disability where I work. And so that will be what really changes the statistic,” Wright said.
Her employers are happy for her.
“I wish you the best. Congratulations. And I always love your kids,” Richard Hansen, a barista, said.
“Hey Amy! I am so proud of you and congratulations,” Grant Smith, a barista, said.
“You’re so awesome. I love you. Congratulations,” Matt Dean, a cashier, said.
Wright says even though she was named the CNN Her of the Year, she sees her employees as the true heroes. She says they make a difference in the world, one cup at a time.