It was a small, good thing–with a happy ending.
He was only referred to as “Mr. Keith.” He’d walked into Theresa Tazewell’s Cupcake Cafe shop in St. Joe’s Plaza in Palm Coast late last month, wanting to order and pay for his wife’s birthday cake. With a catch. He wanted to pay ahead of time in case he died before her birthday.
He wasn’t kidding. Keith, 73, was going in for surgery on March 1. The last time he’d had that surgery, he did die. He had to be brought back. “I didn’t see any white lights with a lot of fun people waving me in there,” he told the baker.
“That’s because you weren’t all the way there yet,” Tazewell told him with an assertiveness as bold as her brightly-painted long fingernails. (She knows something about the fragility of life: she’s had a pacemaker for many of her 36 years.)
Afraid that it would happen again, Mr. Keith wanted to ensure that the burden of paying for the cake would not fall on his wife in case he did not survive.
Tazewell told him she would not take his money in advance. Instead she made him a deal. “And this is a binding contract,” she told Keith (and the camera: she was taking video the whole time). “I’m not charging you for this damn cake, because you’re going to pay for it when you come in and pick it up. Stop crying. This is not OK. You can’t cry, because then I’ll cry. OK? You’re not paying for this today.”
You could imagine Tazewell as a latter-day Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck,” the Cher and Nicholas Cage movie that also partly revolves around a bakery. But with a touch of Raymond Carver.
If the surgery was not successful and she had to contact his wife, Tazewell went on to say, “I’m going to tell her that it’s already paid for, and that’s that. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it because you won’t be here.” She then stuck out his tongue at him, laughing–and obviously sticking out her tongue at death rather than at Keith, really.
Pray for this man. He must be protected at all costs!!! His surgery is March 1st. Right here in Palm Coast. He also said he wouldn’t make me wait until the 11th (when his cake is due) to let me know he’s ok! When i get an update, you will too!! #prayersneeded #vet #militaryveteran #lovehim #loveourcustomers #cupcakes #cupcakeshop #bakery #palmcoast #florida #palmcoastflorida #smallbusiness #supportsmallbusiness #cupcakelady
Perhaps that’s what gave the reaper second thoughts about messing with Keith. “Don’t die on me, man, you can’t,” Tazewell told him. She mentioned her grandfather who lived to 97. Keith wasn’t so sure he’d want to make it that far.
They sealed the deal with a moonstruck-kind of vow: “Do you accept these terms and conditions?” Tazewell asked him.
“I do,” Keith said.
The TikTok went viral, with over 5 million views around the country as viewers waited to receive an update on “Mr. Keith” and his cake. On March 2, the day after the surgery, Tazewell shared the much-anticipated update: Keith had made it through surgery and would be picking up his cake on Saturday (March 11).
Tazewell posted another TikTok, this time of her phone conversation with Keith post-surgery: “I’m all good,” he told a Tazewell so emotional that it briefly looked as if she had been under the knife and had gone to hell and back.
“I’m so happy, oh my God I love you so much,” Tazewell told Keith. “I’m so glad you’re OK.” She told him he had literally millions of people asking if her were OK.
“I came through and I’ll be up there to get that cake on time for my wife,” he told a Tazewell in tears. They made another date, she told him she loves him. Then she sobbed.
Mr. Keith called and left 2 messages for me. One last night and one this morning. He’s alive and well and is looking forward to this cake! Thank you all so much for praying!!! God is good!!! #mrkeith #keithscake #Cupcake #cupcakes #CupcakeShop #PalmCoast #Florida #PalmCoastFlorida #cupcakelady
Tazewell, through tears, invited her viewers to send cards and wishes to the shop. “This man means so much to me, and I just met him last week when he ordered the cake,” she said. “Hopefully my lashes stay on.”
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Laura Jenkins was one of the well-wishers moved by the story, who wanted to do more. On Saturday, she bought a get-well soon card and a balloon for Keith, and a happy birthday card and flowers for his wife. Jenkins, several Alpha Squad deputies and of course Tazewell waited at Cupcake Café for Keith to pick up the cake.
“Get your ass in here,” a jubilant Tazewell screamed as he appeared in the parking lot with his wife Angela, hearts fluttering at Tazewell’s TikTok screen like hers. She hugged Angela for what seemed like an eternity, then looked as if she might hug Keith. “No!,” he said categorically. “No!” He then laughed, and they hugged.
“I’m happy to see everyone,” he said. She told him he made millions of people fall in love with him before he said: “You realize I was trained in false-flag operations.” Could all this have been a hoax? Tazewell didn’t buy it. She said she was trained in confectionery, not in “this,” a reference to the emotional roller-coaster. She handed over “a billion cards,” some of them for Angela.
Of course he did not pay for the cake. To the contrary. Tazewell took up a collection for Keith: $410. He suggested turning the money over to a charity. Tazewell told him no, to use the money for his move (the family is moving soon). Keith suggested he could buy “more ammo.” His wife disagreed. The couple hung out for two and a half hours at the St. Joe Plaza shop. (Tazewell had owned a shop by the sane name in Bunnell a few years ago.)
“It was fantastic,” Tazewell said in a follow-up clip to her followers. “We had a great visit, they loved the cake, they love all the gifts, they loved everything and they are just so blown away by all the love you guys have shown them.” She thanked the sheriff’s office’s eight deputies visiting. She said: “This is what we need to do as people. We need to come together as a community and fellowship, and we need to take care of people.”
Thank you @shannonthrivinmomma1 for recording this for me so I can share it with everyone! I hope you enjoy! Thank you also to @flaglercountysheriff for coming over to show your support! It meant so much to Mr. Keith to be able to talk with everyone. You all mean so much to me #ThankYou #MrKeith #Keith #LoveYouAll #CupcakeShop #PalmCoast #Florida #PalmCoastFlorida #Cupcake #Cupcakes #CakeTok #CakeTikTok #CupcakeTikTok #CupcakeTok
C’mon man says
Pretty sure if he would have passed she would not have cared about a birthday cake.
Jane Kranz says
Theresa is an earthly angel. We could surely use more people like her. Thank you Theresa for always showing up.