St Albans manager organises sleepover for stranded shoppers

PUBLISHED: 15:49 22 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

Deborah Strazza

Deborah Strazza

MANAGING director Deborah Strazza turned Mother Christmas when she held a sleepover in her department store for snowbound shoppers on Monday night. Deborah, 44, of Tippendell Lane, St Albans, who runs the John Lewis store in High Wycombe, helped make up b

MANAGING director Deborah Strazza turned Mother Christmas when she held a sleepover in her department store for snowbound shoppers on Monday night.

Deborah, 44, of Tippendell Lane, St Albans, who runs the John Lewis store in High Wycombe, helped make up beds for more than 100 customers, staff and children stranded by snow.

The big day came early for some of the children who found themselves in Toy Heaven.

Deborah, whose own two small children were safe at home with their father Andrew, said: "It got to about 7pm and I could see the roads round about were gridlocked.

"I put a message out over the tannoy inviting everyone left to come to our restaurant where we fed them and decided what to do.

"There was no way that I was going to throw customers or staff out into that so we made use of what we'd got in store.

"We broke out the toys for the children. It was so sweet they absolutely loved it. They thought they were in Toy Story.

"I think everyone treated it as a bit of an adventure and we all snuggled down in the bedding department. The customers were so grateful and could not thank us enough. I think they all made new friends that night as it brought out the Dunkirk spirit in all of us. I am very proud of what my team did to make everyone comfortable.

"It did have a bit of a Hollywood feel about it ...quite surreal sleeping in a big shop."

Deborah, who has lived in St Albans for 14 years, has a nine-year old daughter Georgia and a four-year old son Alex.

She has run the High Wycombe store for around seven months and spent the previous seven years managing a store in Milton Keynes.


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