Running a lemonade stand is a rite of passage for any enterprising young kid. And, as kids know, the secret to any good lemonade is balancing the sour lemons with the sweet sugar. A 9-year-old girl’s lemonade stand in Ohio was frequented this past week by a sheriff’s deputy who, perhaps inspired by the sweetness of the lemonade, gave the girl an even sweeter gift. The Sheriff’s Deputy for Lake County Zach Ropos was passing through Painesville, Ohio on patrol when he noticed Gabrielle’s classic lemonade stand.
Ropos said the moment struck immediately,
“ I see a little girl come running up to my police car, and she hands me a glass, I hand her a few bucks.”
But Ropos was also curious about what Gabrielle was hoping to make money for, “I asked her what she wanted to do with the money … she said she’d get an iPad, to help with school and play games.” With such worthy reasons for wanting an iPad, and with an obviously strong work ethic, Gabrielle impressed Officer Ropos. Not wanting to ruin a potential surprise, he talked to Gabrielle’s mother and mentioned that he had an old iPad at home he might be able to give to Gabrielle.
Officer Ropos was then disappointed to find, when he got home, that his old iPad was beyond repair.
“I went home that night, fired up the iPad, but it just wasn’t updated anymore … nothing really worked on it,” the officer said. Not willing to give up so easily, Ropos went back to Gabrielle’s stand the next day and asked how much she’d managed to save. “I talked to the little girl, gave her a speech about how courageous and admirable I think her efforts were to save up her money. I asked her how much she saved up and she said she only had a few dollars,” Ropos said.
Gabrielle confirmed that the lemonade stand business was not going great, but that was only due to her own kindness. When her mother’s gas tank had run empty, Gabrielle gave her mother some of her hard-earned lemonade money to help fill up on gas. As a result, she’d only managed to save a few dollars toward the iPad.”When she told me she gave the money to her mom … that’s when I almost started crying because of how great of a kid she really was,” the officer said.
After going to a local store and asking if they’d chip in for a tablet for Gabrielle with him, Ropos showed up to surprise Gabrielle and her mother. The sweetness of the moment, filmed by Ropos’ co-worker, is almost too much. Gabrielle can barely contain her excitement – her lemonade stand had paid off. Ropos was almost equally as touched, “ She just wouldn’t stop hugging me! Seeing her face is how I remember Christmas when I was 5 years old. She couldn’t stop smiling. Her smile was worth a million dollars.” The 9-year-old may not have made a million dollars at her lemonade stand but she still got her iPad.
The responses to such a beautiful story were numerous, as readers shared their comments on the Mad World News Facebook Page. One person wrote, “Outstanding compassion by this dedicated officer, more of these thoughtful stories should be circulated, well done.” Another commented, “May God Bless this Officer for being so kind to this little girl.” In a time when the news about police officers is often sour, it is nice to be reminded that there is always sweetness in there too.