Community gives sweet surprise after thief steals from kids’ lemonade stand

September 28, 2021
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The Ames community is responding after a thief stole from a lemonade stand run by two 9-year-olds.

Twins Katelyn and Elias were hosting a lemonade stand Monday, but things quickly turned sour.

“We were just selling lemonade and the car drove up and a girl hopped out and I asked if she would like lemonade,” Katelyn said. “She said, ‘yes,’ and then she grabbed the tip jar, went to the passenger’s seat of the car and drove away.”

When the family called the police, they said the response was sweeter than they could’ve imagined.

“I started messaging some of the people that I work with asking them to get together and maybe visit the lemonade stand so we could make a difference in Katelyn and Elias’ day,” Officer Celena Rohland said.

The twins reopened their stand and decided that when life gives you lemons, you just keep making lemonade.

Four different law enforcement agencies showed up to help them, raising back the money that was stolen.

“It chokes me up to see these kids as happy as they are right now. That’s what it’s about. Taking care of our community,” Kyle Dirks said.

And as for Katelyn and Elias, their mom said this life lesson makes it all worth it.

“There was one bad apple, but they got to feel the goodness of so many more people and one bad apple will not ruin it for us,” Karen Smidt said. “We are pressing on.”

The family said they’ve now raised more than $750. They plan to donate it all to the Shop with a Cop program and said they are excited to give back to the community that’s supported them.

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