St. John's bakery serves up cookie tribute after young customer passes away

A St. John's bakery has crafted a sweet tribute to a young, loyal customer who recently passed away.

After hearing about the Nov. 4 death of Ben Basha, 19, who frequented the shop, an employee at Volcano Bakery came up with the idea to bake and sell a special sugar cookie, with all proceeds going toward Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador. 

"As his funeral was approaching I was hearing stories from all of my friends and even family about how many people had connections to him … So I thought it would be a great idea to do some sort of fundraising to honour him at the bakery," said Rebecca Johannsson.

Basha had epilepsy and his family has asked for donations to the charity instead of flowers.

Although she wasn't a close friend of Basha's, Johannsson said like many of her regulars customers they had a bond, and she knew his order off by heart: a croissant-style cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee.

He was "a really kind person," said Johannsson, who will remember him for having a "sweet face."

Her boss thought the baking tribute was a great idea, and the cookies, each iced with a purple ribbon signifying epilepsy awareness, came to be.

Volcano Bakery/Facebook

"As simple as a sugar cookie is, I feel like it has impacted a lot of people. People coming in buying a cookie they feel like they are contributing to a bigger cause," said Krista Neville, co-owner of Volcano Bakery

And the simple act of buying a sugar cookie has sparked other customers to share memories about Basha.

"The more cookies I sold, the more people came in and they were talking about him, so I feel like I have almost got to know him a little bit better," Johannsson said.

Cookies flying off the plate 

After advertising the cookie on Facebook, sugar sales surged, with more than 2,000 sold in five days.

"I think my first batch of cookies was around 40 to 50 … I brought them in and within three hours they were completely gone," said Johannsson.

"The next day they were sold out, and the next day and the next day."

Each sugar cookie is being sold for $3. The bakery plans on selling them until Nov. 28th.

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