Hundreds of cards brighten birthday for man with Down syndrome

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SABETHA, Kan. (WIBW) - The small town of Sabetha, Kansas packs a steady stream of Sunshine.

Jordan Huneke is nicknamed Sunshine at the Sabetha grocery store where he works. His mom's request for people to mail cards for his 26th birthday received a huge response. (WIBW)

Sunshine is what people at the Country Mart grocery store call Jordan Huneke.

"He kind of brightens everybody's day," said store manager Dan Wenger.

Huneke has Down syndrome and started working at the store in high school. He tackles all sorts of tasks, from sacking and stocking, to cleaning and customer carryouts.

"Love it!" Huneke said when asked about his job.

Wenger says Huneke is a true asset, not only for his work ethic, but for how he relates to customers.

"He's never in a bad mood. He comes in here happy all the time," Wenger said.

His mom, Kathy Huneke, said it's the way Jordan Huneke has been his entire life.

"Jordan has that innate ability to make people happy. You could be having a bad day, and he comes up and gives you a hug and it changes your outlook," she said.

As Jordan Huneke's 26th birthday approached, Kathy Huneke was stumped to think of what would make her son happy. Then, his daily trek to the mailbox delivered the inspiration.

"He loves getting the mail," Kathy Huneke said. "Doesn't matter if it's junk mail - anything with his name on it. He just loves going to the mail and getting something out of there."

Kathy Huneke posted on her Facebook page, asking people to mail Jordan Huneke a birthday card.

"I was really expecting maybe 10 to 20 cards," Kathy Huneke said. "Amazing is what happened. It just took off, and I never expected anything like this to happen."

Jordan Huneke's birthday was July 28th. Two weeks later, the cards keep coming: 311 so far.

"It started out with just Facebook friends and family, now they're coming from all over. They're coming from people we don't even know," Kathy Huneke said. "When he's got a card that's addressed to him, and he's reading it with a personal note inside, it's emotionally happy for me."

Jordan Huneke reads each one, finishing with a "Thank you!" as he carefully places it aside to save.

Wenger's not surprised people responded to the birthday request.

"He's just a great kid with a big heart," he said.

It's a small gesture making a big impact - something you know when you take a moment to soak up some Sunshine.

"He's really touched a lot of lives," Kathy Huneke said.

If you'd like to keep the party going for Jordan, here's the address:

Jordan Huneke
2114 Timberlane Dr.
Sabetha, KS 66534

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