News4 In Your Corner


A princess and her wig: a local story of friendship

“I was a depressed and lonely person."
Posted at 9:48 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 14:49:47-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — This is a friendship four years in the making.

A visit to the Waffle House location on US 41 in Fort Myers is a part of life for Mary Katherine Backstrom - also known as M.K.

She visits daily.

The restaurant served as a refuge.

“I was a depressed and lonely person,” she says.

She had recently moved to the area, and was postpartum. “I was having a very hard time making friends”.

But as many here tell Fox 4, it’s easy to see why Cynthia Basset easily becomes anyone’s friend.

M.K says Cynthia listened, mentored, and supported her through a move…and even a battle with breast cancer.

Cynthia says they’ve shared life’s highs and lows. “We’ve loved together…we’ve cried together…we’ve prayed together.”

Cynthia’s a mom of two. She’s from Fort Myers, and makes it very clear that she proudly represents the Dunbar community. She attended Cape Coral High School and has worked in the service industry for over 30 years.

Those who work with her say people are deeply impacted by Cynthia because she of the way she treats people.

Andrew Cusumamo is a Waffle House District Manager. “The first thing she’s doing when people come through that door is Ms. Cynthia’s giving them a hug…asking them about their family.”

The two friends’ relationship recently took social media by storm.

During a recent visit to the restaurant, Holland showed of a new hair accessory - similar to the likeness of Disney’s Princess Elsa from Frozen.

M.K. admits the three-and-a-half year old looked a little more like Davy Crockett.

Half of her was out, and the wig was plopped on the top of her head.

Holland was excited to show “Ms. Cynthia”, but says she remembers her reaction.

“She said it looked crazy!”.

But her love for Holland wouldn’t allow her to walk around with her hair like that.

So, she immediately went to work.

M.K. laughs.

“She picked up Holland and went to work and was tuckin’ hairs up in there…and looked at me like ‘I can’t believe you brought this baby in here looking like this.’”

Cynthia laughed, too.

“Yeah, yeah cause we seen all kinds of tracks hanging out of there. She is my princess, so I have to make her look like my princess.”

Touched and ready to share how one woman’s impacted her family’s life, M.K. posted about the wig on Facebook.

Cynthia couldn’t believe the response.

“My niece called me she said ‘Auntie…you are viral!”

At the time this story aired, the post had well over 8,000 likes and hundreds of shares.

M.K. says she just wanted people to know about her friend, and Holland agrees.

“My heart makes me love her all the time when I go to Waffle House.”