Shortly after the story appeared in the Toronto Sun about the kid’s lemonade stand, Baton Rouge got ahold of me. Today the husband, kids and I went for a lovely lunch at the Whitby location and talked with the GTA Manager as well as the Whitby location’s manager. Both were amazing men, and the offer they gave us was heartwarming. They wanted to set up a date that our kids could come in there and sell lemonade to their customers with the money being raised going to Sick Kids Hospital. Head office has told them that whatever amount is raised that night they will match! To help encourage customers to buy lemonade instead of other drinks, every customer that buys one will recieve a coupon for a free appitizer at their next visit.
All of this is extremely generous and we said “YES!”
I asked Ryan (the GTA manager) why he was offering such gracious help to ensure that for our kids the whole thing is remembered in a positive light, his answer touched home for me. He said that his 6 year old son asked him why it had happened the way that it did for my kids when they were just being good and he couldn’t answer him. He said it’s the first time he hasn’t been able to give his son an answer, and I get that. In such a huge way that resonates with me! With C having Autism it means that he does not always understand social aspects without help, and the first time he asked me why about someone’s actions and I couldn’t answer him hurt greatly. For him specifically it was why another child refused to play with him when he was trying to reach out and be friendly at the park, but the heart of the matter, when trying to be nice or do something good and someone objects or refuses your offer is a hard thing to explain to your child when their still innocent eyes are searching yours for the truth behind the platitudes we often utter to apease our children’s sensibilities without exposing them to the harsher reality that sometimes life isn’t fair, and sometimes people are just mean.
I appreciate that he wants to be able to look his child in the eye and tell him that “Dad helped to fix it” I appreciate the fact that I am able to look my own son in the eyes and tell him that with some help “Momma has fixed it, he can still try and help a hospital that saved his cousin’s lives” in the way that his still fairly innocent mind had originally come up with.
I get to watch him walk around for a couple of hours with a server and inquire if each customer would like a lemonade. This makes me happy, extremely, giddy in fact!
See I too often think of chains or corporations as just being about the money, about the bottom dollar, but the revenue they will lose from other drinks not being ordered, the cost of the lemonade itself, the coupons for free appitizers, and the matching donation from head office is significant to me. It shows me that Ryan and Steve and by extension Baton Rouge in general actually care, they are not paying lip service they are doing something positive to not just raise money for Sick Kids Hospital, BUT they want to help restore the faith that their and my kids have in the world at large as a place where good deeds are appreciated and people help one another because it’s the right thing to do.
SO ladies and gents, PLEASE if you’re in the area (Whitby, Ontario) on August 13th from 5pm-8pm come on out to Baton Rouge and order a lemonade with your meal!