Thief steals money from kids’ lemonade stand prompting police and residents to step in

Nine-year-old twins Katelyn and Elias Smidt had been asking their mom if they could set up a lemonade stand all summer.

Finally she agreed and the siblings made the summer quencher and laid the table outside their home in Ames, Iowa.

They didn’t charge any money for the lemonade but did put out a jar for tips and it wasn’t long before they’d collected more than $50 and were on their way to making $100.

But in a split second that jar was gone after a car stopped and a woman started talking to Katelyn.

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Mom Karen said a car approached and her daughter asked if she wanted lemonade.

“Katelyn was ready to serve her lemonade, and she grabbed the tip jar and got in the car and squealed off,” Karen explained.

The children were distraught but continued with their lemonade stand through teary eyes.

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But the heartbreaking situation was turned around, almost as fast as it happened, after Karen called the local Ames police.

“Officer Rohland came out. She was absolutely phenomenal with Katelyn,” she told the Ames Tribune.

It wasn’t long before first responders from the Ames Police Department, Ames Fire Department, Story County Sheriff’s Office, and Iowa State University Police Department came by the twins’ lemonade stand.

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The tip jar was restocked, and before they knew it the twins had collected more than their original jar which had been stolen from them.

“The look on my kid’s faces was … you just can’t even describe it. They were just so excited because they had so much lemonade to serve,” Karen said.

It prompted the big-hearted duo to give back to their local community and donate all their lemonade tips to the Ames Police Foundation’s ‘Shop With a Cop’ holiday event which allows children and officers to shop together at Target. 

Oh hey CBS Sunday Morning! 😮😮😮❤️❤️❤️❤️

Posted by Karen Hatting Smidt on Thursday, August 5, 2021

Karen said the physical lemonade stand had raised more than $3,000 and the kids were exhausted so they were taking it online in the hope of reaching $5,000 for the worthy cause. She also praised her children for “getting back in the saddle” after such a traumatic event.

She added on Facebook: “The response to the #LemonadeRobbery has been amazing! Thank you Ames community! Crews from @cityofames Fire and Aspen Waste stopped by. @AmesPolice turned the tide on this event and all donations today will go to Shop with a Cop. Free lemonade. If you Venmo: karen-smidt-1″

Karen said she hoped the event would help her children understand that “there’s always bad in the world, but the amount of good always outweighs the bad.”

Another day and another show of incredible generosity! City of Ames Electric Department crew stopped by as did Silly…

Posted by Karen Hatting Smidt on Wednesday, August 4, 2021

These kids’ spirit and determination to turn a bad situation around is inspirational.

With the help of the big-hearted residents and first responders around them they are on their way to raising thousands for needy children in their community; well done kids!

Help us get even more support for this mighty duo and their amazing mom by sharing this story.