Costco CEO surprises North Hollywood 6th grader with giant teddy bear for Valentine's Day fundraiser staff KABC logo
Friday, February 24, 2023
Costco CEO surprises North Hollywood 6th grader with giant teddy bear
After the CEO of Costco received an email from sixth-grader Grant Cerwin requesting a giant teddy bear for his school's fundraiser, the CEO made sure to "do whatever it takes" to fulfill the Valentine's Day request.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- North Hollywood's Walter Reed Middle School received a special Valentine's Day present last week from one of the unlikeliest of sources: the CEO of Costco.

After sixth-grader Grant Cerwin asked his mom for, and was denied, a giant stuffed teddy bear from the wholesale retail store, Cerwin came up with the idea to email the company's CEO for a donation for his school project.

The assignment: think of a way to promote its Valentine's Day fundraiser. Cerwin said he decided to think big. Really big.

"We could've done like roses or anything like that, but that seems kind of basic," said Cerwin. "So that's why a bear seems kind of cool to do."

In the email Cerwin sent the CEO asking for the donation, he wrote of his request, "I know it is a long shot, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask."

Cerwin said he was not expecting a response at all, and that at best the company would give him a discount. But instead, Cerwin got the prize he had aimed for.

Within minutes, the company CEO sent out an email instructing his employees to "do whatever it takes" to send Walter Reed Middle School a giant teddy bear for free.

The bear became the big prize for the school's Valentine's Day raffle. The giant teddy bear ended up garnering 300 entrants, raising $1500 for the school.

The money was used to fund the school's mural, and also might go towards new handball courts in the future, the school's ASB Advisor, Julia Bugyik, said.

To offer a token of gratitude, the school named the bear Walter, which is the same name as Costco's CEO.

Along with the money earned, the giant teddy bear also taught students like Cerwin a valuable lesson in life.

"I really learned that you have to take your chances," said Cerwin. "So, if you have that chance, you should take it."