Shirley Ratcliff was taking three buses to work – but no longer

By Alex Heigl
Updated January 06, 2015 09:00 AM

Here’s a late-breaking Christmas miracle from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Shirley Ratcliff, 47, has worked at Bruegger’s Bagels since 2006. She takes three different buses to work, so she’d been saving for a car – until she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and had to spend the money on treatment instead.

Luckily, her customers are her biggest fans.

One of them, David Burton, organized a group of loyal customers – calling themselves the Shirley Fan Club – and began raising funds to get their favorite employee that car she so desperately wanted.

“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 tells “That just goes to show you that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Raleigh, North Carolina.”

In just two days, Burton collected enough money to buy Ratcliff a used Buick LeSabre, covering taxes and insurance as well. The video above, from Raleigh’s News & Observer newspaper, shows Ratcliff receiving her Christmas present.

“It means the world to me. I love these people,” Ratcliff tells ABC 11 News. “I just didn’t know they would go to this extreme to do something like this.”