‘Biggby Ladies’ percolate spirits with a wave

Kent County

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’ve driven along Plainfield Avenue near Jupiter Avenue in Kent County in the last five months, you’ve likely received a wave from the Biggby Ladies.

Gail Broekema and Kolleen Bruinooge earned that title for spending every morning since the beginning of the coronavirus closures sitting along the sidewalk outside the Plainfield Township Biggby Coffee.

The cousins began working out at the Planet Fitness up the road at the beginning of the year. After, they would head to Biggby for caffeine and chatting. 

That changed when Michigan shut down gyms and restaurant dine-in services in March in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“So we started meeting here every day still and sitting in my car, still having my coffee,” Broekema explained. “Then about the middle of March, it got very warm out and we thought, ‘Let’s bring the chairs out. Let’s sit outside.'”

What came next has taken on a life of its own. For a few hours each morning, Broekema and Bruinooge are welcome smiling faces waving at cars as they drive by. 

“The kindness and generosity of people is so overwhelming,” Bruinooge said. 

Strangers have left gift cards at the drive-thru window of the coffee shop or brought food and goodies for the women just because.

“We had a lady stop by one day and she and her husband made raspberry jam and she dropped by and gave us each a jar of jam and another lady gave us hearty mums,” Broekema explained.

The cousins hadn’t aimed for such a response but said they appreciate that people are enjoying their simple gesture of a friendly hello.

“For the most part, people are getting it,” Broekema added. “We just want to make you happy. We just want to do a good thing. We want to bring some positivity to a time that’s not so positive right now.”

Though their reign as the Biggby Ladies started because of the shutdown, the daily hellos are part of a new routine they plan to keep once gyms reopen — as long as the Michigan weather cooperates. 

Next time your morning travels take you through the area, wave back. 

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