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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: Passersby and kind hearts make lemonade stand a success

Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

It all started with a toy catalog that showed up in the mail a few weeks ago. My three youngest sons pored over it, making note of which toys they were most interested in. It was the catalog of their dreams, except for one minor detail: toys cost money, and my boys are broke.

They have a habit of spending every penny almost the instant they get it. Why put the $10 you got for your birthday toward the new bike you’ve been wanting when you could instantly blow it on 10 random toys from the dollar store? Beats me!

So as my boys studied the toy catalog, they knew they needed a way to earn some money, and fast. When you’re between the ages of 7 and 12, and one of you happens to have an adorable toothless grin, the fastest way to make money is through a lemonade stand. And so, shortly after the appearance of the catalog, my boys started asking Logan and me if we would let them set one up at the end of our driveway.

We happened to be working on something else at the moment and didn’t have the energy to help them prep a mini business, so we vaguely told them to go for it and then left them to their own devices.

A few minutes later, we spotted Hyrum coming out of our pantry with a plastic bag full of food, including applesauce cups, generic-brand granola bars, and two cans of beans.

“Where’s the lemonade, buddy?” Logan asked.

“We didn’t have any, so we’re just going to sell this stuff instead,” he replied.

“This is going to be sad,” I whispered to Logan as Hyrum and his big brothers headed down to the end of our driveway to hawk their wares. “Who’s going to buy random stuff from our pantry?”

Turns out, quite a few people. It seemed like every time I glanced out the window to check on how things were going, someone new was stopping by: a grandson visiting our neighbor, a friend down the road, and even a car now and then.

Logan and I wandered down after a while to check on their progress and buy back a few pantry staples.

“How’s it going, boys?” we asked nervously.

“We’ve sold most of the granola bars, and almost all of the applesauce is gone!” a giddy Hyrum exclaimed. “Do you want to buy something?”

By that point, they had added a couple cans of soda to their inventory, so Logan purchased one of those, while I opted for a granola bar and a can of beans. The boys came back into the house 20 minutes later, fistfuls of cash in tow.

“We made $25!” Hyrum yelled, a first-grader on top of the world.

“People will buy anything!” Emmett added, emboldened in particular by the sale of the can of beans. “Let’s do this again tomorrow!”

Now there’s no stopping them; it seems like every other day they’re setting up shop at the bottom of our driveway. Thankfully, they’ve moved on from pantry staples and have started selling actual lemonade, always maintaining the highest standards of lukewarm perfection.

I am constantly amazed at how kind and generous people are. One evening, a bicyclist was riding by as my boys shouted that he should come buy a cup of lemonade.

“I didn’t bring any money with me,” he yelled back.

“That’s OK, you can have some anyway,” they replied. “You look thirsty.”

The cyclist came over and gratefully drank his cup of lemonade, promising to put a dollar in our mailbox when he was out for his next ride. A few days later, he delivered.

“Dear Young Sir,” read the handwritten note he left in our mailbox, along with a $5 bill. “Sorry this is so late, but I thank you for the lemonade.”

He signed it “Thirsty Cyclist”, and just like that, my faith in humanity has been restored. All it took was a toothless grin, a generous passerby and some lukewarm lemonade.

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