Mason was a man — a little man — on a mission.
When the TriBeCa 4-year-old realized his favorite treat at the local supermarket — a big, round piece of gum from a gumball machine — was missing, he found a way to get his sweet fix back.
The solution: a petition, gathering signatures for gumballs.
“Getting bubble gum from the machine was his special thing when we went to the supermarket, a little something for being well-behaved at the market,” said Mason’s mom, Josey Miller. “He was really disappointed when it wasn’t there.”
The old gumball machine was gone, because the old supermarket had also departed. Last month, Best Market took the place of an aging Food Emporium. Miller says that new market at 316 Greenwich St. is “far and away better than the old supermarket.” But for Mason, the best part of the shopping trip was lost.
When Miller and her son went to the new market for the first time last month, Mason instinctively went looking for his beloved gumballs, but no machines were in sight.
A precocious 4-year-old, Mason asked a manager about the gumball machine, who seemed to think his questions were cute but didn’t really take him too seriously.
Mason’s mom persisted. When she was asked for feedback at the supermarket about what she thought about the new food shopping center, she mentioned her son missed the gumball machine.
But the real push for change came when Mason learned about a key tool in getting things you want — a petition.
“My husband just sort of jokingly said something about starting a petition and Mason just loved the idea when he figured out what it was,” said Miller. “He loves a project.”
So Mason, whose mom describes him as “a little unusual in the best way” — example: he prefers to wear cufflinks and bowties to preschool — just ran with the idea.
He headed into preschool the next day and gave a whole presentation about his desire to get the gumball machine back, and collected signatures from his classmates.
Mason and his mom promptly took the petition to the supermarket, where another manager thought the whole endeavor was just adorable.
He passed along the story to higher ups — and then Miller was soon contacted via Twitter, with Best Market saying they’d get that gumball machine.
“I was so excited for Mason, but I waited to tell him the good news, until it really happened,” Miller said.
It took about two weeks, but Best Market came through, and even made the gumball machine, installed last weekend, a little sweeter — all quarters used to buy the gumballs will go to a Food Bank for New York City.
“I’m just so impressed with Best Market, and really proud of Mason too,” Miller. “He loves the gumballs, but he also understood the charity aspect that they added, and he loved that too.”
You can watch his excited "Yay!" reaction to seeing the gumball machine for the first time here:
Best Market did not immediately return request for comment.
H/T to blog Tribeca Citizen for first spotting Miller's Instagram.