A California dad built his daughter mini Target and Starbucks stores to play in while social distancing.
Diego Gonzalez’s toddler Mila normally likes to grab a snack at Starbucks as her parents browse the aisles of their local Target store in Bakersfield, California. But the coronavirus pandemic made trips to get groceries less frequent, so Gonzalez brought his daughter’s favorite stores to her instead.
“Every time we bring my 2-year-old along, she always sees Starbucks and asks if she can get a cake pop,” Gonzalez said. “I thought it could make her feel more comfortable as we stay home.”
Gonzalez began putting together a small register stand over the course of several days, adding in store logos and Target branding to make the toy set look as realistic as possible.
The family picked up gift cards, price tags and a name tag from the store to go along with a red shirt and khaki pants for Mila to play in.
“We tried to be as detailed as we could so she would really get into it,” Gonzalez said. “The name tag was so minor but it completed our play set and made the whole thing feel authentic.”
Gonzalez even made Mila an employee of the month sign, making sure all her hard work at the check-out didn’t go unnoticed.
With the success of the Target register set, Gonzalez decided to construct a Starbucks barista stand from scratch. This time Mila wanted to help her dad as he gathered plywood and paint and worked on the project for several days. Gonzalez is a police officer with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and has a full schedule during the coronavirus crisis as an emergency responder.
“We got a lot of time to hang out and build something together as a family which was nice,” Gonzalez said.
But Gonzalez wanted the final product to be a surprise and completed the stand with coffee-themed toys he and fiancé, Cindy Gonzalez, found online.
The family also scored two emerald green aprons donated from their local coffee shop. The result had Mila speechless when she saw her new toy.
“Her face lit up when she came into the room,” Gonzalez said. “She was so excited to start playing with it. She has so much fun in there and it keeps her distracted from everything that's going on.”