Family of SC mass shooting victims honors son’s birthday by paying it forward

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The Lesslie family lost their young son and daughter during a mass shooting in York County last month.

This past weekend, their son Noah would have just turned 6 and to honor him, they left a surprise for a family they didn’t know.

Candace Aaron, who owns Candy’s Sweets N Treats in Rock Hill, helps create special moments with the treats she bakes, but one cake created a moment she never expected.

On Saturday, a family asked to pay for someone’s order.

#ForAdahAndNoah This is a hard post to write. Yesterday, on the way to a casual birthday dinner for George, we stopped...

Posted by Kathy Polk Stull on Sunday, May 23, 2021

“I asked if they wanted anything and they said, ‘No, we just really wanted to do this to honor our son,’” Aaron said.

Aaron said she didn’t make the connection at the time, but the couple had lost their son Noah, daughter Adah and parents Dr. Robert and Barbara Lesslie during a mass shooting in April.

“They took that moment to spread love and joy,” Aaron said. “They celebrated their son’s birthday by paying for someone else’s birthday cake. A lot of people don’t do that.”

The Lesslie’s left a note with the cake. It said, “It’s out son’s 6th birthday and his first in Heaven. Enjoy a treat in his honor.”

Later that day, George and Kathy Stull picked up George’s birthday cake and were surprised to learn it was paid for. Then, they read the note with their children.

“That’s when we all got teary and quite emotional,” Kathy Stull said. “It’s just a very touching moment that they would do that for us. They’re just such an example to the rest of us of what goodness can be. It’s just incredible to me, it’s unbelievable.”

The Lesslie family couldn’t have known that Aaron was also grieving, having recently lost her father. Now, she plans to gift someone a cake on his birthday and offer free treats to dads on Father’s Day.

“All I can think about is how I can honor him,” Aaron said. “When someone gives it’s contagious, that love and that job to be able to share it.”

Kathy Stull shared the tribute on Facebook and neighbors commented how the Lesslie family had left markers, bubbles and other toys at Cherry Park for others to enjoy this weekend.

They also purchased ice cream for a stranger at a local shop.

(WATCH: Hundreds of people pay tribute to victims of SC mass shooting at Rock Hill vigil)