Last week, little Ami Reader was picking out cartoon bookbags and deciding whether she’d wear braids or ponytails to school.
This week, the 8-year-old is trying to decide which tabloid television show to appear on.
In the 24 hours since the public heard about her brush with a strongarm punk who stole the kid’s lemonade-stand money, the third-grader has been thrust into a media frenzy, as interview offers from the television show Hard Copy and newspapers across the country pour into her home.
“People are recognizing me in the supermarket when we go shopping,” Ami said.
On Saturday, Ami and her younger sister Tammi, 4, watched in horror as a ponytailed thug stopped on their front lawn on Erial Road in Blackwood, N.J., and plundered about $30 from the lemonade-stand cash box.
Hoping to spare the tyke from souring over the experience, ordinary people, policemen, charities and local businesses are coughing up cash.
So far, the family has been promised over $1,000.
“I am so overwhelmed with this all, I’m stunned and I just don’t know what to say,” said Patti Reader, Ami’s mom.
An Atlanta radio station promised the girl $250, with a matching donation from local listeners.
A Texas newspaper reported the girl’s traumatic experience in Wednesday’s editions and began receiving calls for donations.
Philadelphia Police Sgt. Jim Dewees, along with two other Philadelphia residents, dropped $30 checks in the mail after reading Ami’s story.
“I felt bad for her,” Dewees said. “Something like that can be really scary for a kid.”
And Rita’s Water Ice committed to setting up a roadside stand on the girl’s front lawn Saturday to give her another shot at entrepreneurship, and all the profits from the day’s sales.
Ami’s only request:
“Bring chocolate water ice, because that’s the only kind I like.”