12/30/2014 08:47 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Customers Buy Car For Beloved Bagel Shop Employee

A bagel shop worker came to work recently and found her customers had added an unbelievable random act of kindness to the menu.

Shirley Ratliff of Raleigh, North Carolina, takes three different buses to get to work at Bruegger's Bagels each day, according to The Fresno Bee. Though she had been saving up for a car in the past, the 47-year-old was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and the money went toward her treatment costs. Loyal customers of hers, who call themselves "The Shirley Fan Club," wanted to make her commute easier and pooled together money to buy a car for her.

Last week, they surprised Ratliff with the vehicle -- a gesture that she said was truly unforgettable.

"It means the world to me. I love these people," she told ABC 11 News. "I just didn't know they would go to this extreme to do something like this."

The 47-year-old has worked at the bagel shop since 2006, attracting many devoted patrons thanks to her positive attitude, according to WNCN. When one customer, David Burton, asked fellow patrons to contribute to the cost of a car, many were more than willing to pitch in.

"When I asked [people] to contribute, they didn't even blink. As a matter of fact, they said, 'How much do you want?' And they said they would give $100, $200," Burton told "That just goes to show you that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Raleigh, North Carolina."

In just two days, Burton had collected enough money to cover a used 1992 Buick LeSabre along with tax and car insurance, according to The Fresno Bee. And though Ratliff doesn't have a driver's license yet, she says she does know how to drive and now that she has a new ride, she plans to get a license soon, ABC 11 reported.

"She's Shirley," Craig Boyd a customer of Ratliff's told The Fresno Bee. "She takes care of us and always has a smile."

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