HAM LAKE, Minn. — If you're among those thirsting for stories of kindness in these trying times, keep reading: There's a tale out of Ham Lake that will warm hearts, and hopefully make Minnesotans want to "pass it on."
Summer has lots of traditions, and this one unfolds at the bottom of Jamie Scalise's driveway. Her kids Peter, age 10, and Penny, 7, have staged a lemonade stand for the past several summers, serving cold cups to neighbors and passersby and making a couple bucks in the process.
"My son is all about it," Jamie laughed, "he'll sit out there from sun up until sun down."
On Tuesday, the kids decided it was time to stage the stand, so while their mom scrambled to prepare for this week's camping vacation Peter and Penny whipped up a big batch of lemonade with help from a neighbor friend and their little brother Finn. Jamie was packing inside when she heard screams and ran outside. There she found her kids jumping up and down, holding onto a $100 bill.
"Mom, this guy just gave us a $100 bill," they told her. "I'm like, what?"
Indeed, it was a genuine C-note. Penny even held it up to the sun to make sure it was real (her mom has NO idea where she learned this). They described the generous gent only as a man with a lot of facial hair, driving a Chevy truck, who looked like a "hard worker."
He told the kids it was the best lemonade he'd ever had before handing over the generous tip. "It was nothing special," Jamie laughed, noting it was powdered mix with some fresh lemons thrown in.
Jamie Scalise just had to find out who had made her kids' day, so she put up a post with some pics on her Ham lake neighborhood Facebook page. "If you have a black Chevy truck with a white trailer and look like you are a hard worker guy... said by my kids.. THANK YOU SO MUCH!" she posted.
The comments stacked up like cord wood, with people talking about what a great gesture it was. It also got people doing some detective work, and Jamie soon learned that the kind-hearted thirsty guy was named Josh Phillips, the owner of Family Tradition Drywall in Stacy.
Jamie was able to message back and forth a bit with Josh, who apparently enjoyed the encounter as much as the kids did. "Their reaction was priceless," he told her. "Tell them to keep up the hard work."
Peter and Penny split the dough with their neighbor friend. They will spend a bit on their vacation, but are sharing ideas on ways to "pay it forward" when the family gets home. Penny is already talking about making lemonade and taking it down to thirsty road construction crews working in their neighborhood.
Besides breaking up the summer doldrums, Jamie says what happened Tuesday is a great reminder that humanity and kindness is not in short supply.
"There's great people everywhere, so it's fun when things like this happen," Jamie reflected. "just kindness... how giving people can be."