A sour situation for twins Katelyn and Elias Smidt was overturned by members of the community and the police through a sweet act of kindness.
The 9-year-old twins were busy running their lemonade stand on Monday when they were interrupted after a stranger stopped her car and stole their tip jar before fleeing from there.
The Smidt family then called the Ames Police Department in Iowa regarding the theft but were about to be surprised by how local officers and their own community would rally together to help the twins make up the loss.
After Ames Officer Celena Rohland notified colleagues and fellow first responders about the incident, in less than 24 hours, many officers and firefighters visited the lemonade stand for some fresh cups.
“This theft was particularly heartbreaking for Katelyn and Elias and I wanted to turn their experience into something positive,” Officer Rohland said. “I work with a great group of people who didn’t hesitate to come together to make that happen.”
“Officer Rohland and the first responders of our community changed the tides when they showed up to show their support after the robbery,” Katelyn and Elias’ mother Karen Smidt said. “Our kids went from scared and unsure how to trust the next person…to wide-eyed, smiling and so excited to serve them lemonade.”
Many first responders who stopped by the stand came from the Ames Police Department, Iowa State University Police Department, Story County Sheriff’s Office, and Ames Fire Department, according to Smidt.
“Our street was filled with police cars and firetrucks and a whole lot of smiles,” she said. “Because of those first responders, our kids found a renewed sense of energy and wanted to open their stand the next day…and the next day. Our community showed up in a big way and we are and continue to be overwhelmed by the support.”
“Life is never without hard parts,” Smidt said. “The way our community has shown up has absolutely given our kids something they will remember for a lifetime.”
Smidt added that Katelyn and Elias received generous tips and all of it will be donated to Shop with a Cop, which is dedicated to making “holidays brighter for disadvantaged families,” according to the Ames Police Foundation.
Smidt said she is thankful that her children got a chance to learn that “good can come despite adversity if you choose to continue putting one foot in front of the other.”
“This community has shown so many what it looks and feels like to really come together,” Smidt added.