Sometimes I forget where I live.
And not just after over-indulging at a party. Like the end-of-first-grade-pizza-lunch rager I attended recently at my daughter’s elementary school.
And also not because I have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
I mean it figuratively. But those times I do forget, something inevitably happens that reminds me some parts of the DC metro area are rather more affluent than I can even comprehend.
This weekend was one of those times. While driving through the area on Saturday, my friend and I happened upon a roadside lemonade stand staffed by two girls who appeared to be about 8 years old. Feeling nostalgic and wanting to reward their entrepreneurial spirit, we pulled over and offered to treat my daughter, who was also in the car with us, to a cup.
I parked and the three of us walked over to the cardboard box cum business counter and ordered one cup of lemonade.
And one of the little pint-sized highway robbers said matter-of-factly, “That will be 50 cents, please.”
FIFTY CENTS! For one six-ounce cup of lemonade! That she first crammed full of 19 ice cubes and then used only enough lemonade to fill the cup halfway, so noticeably trying to increase her profit margin that my friend asked, "Could you please pour a little more in there?" The tiny thief added one teensy splash, thus ensuring that 48.5 of those cents would effectively line her greedy little pockets.
And yet....YET....because I am an avid supporter of small and women-owned-business and wanted to encourage this little felon, I also decided that I would tip her. Then, she would learn the elation and freedom that we all did as kids when the lemonade stands we operated earned us enough to buy our own candy! The power! The independence! The CANDY!!! Helping her experience that feeling (sugar rush?) -- something that is only appreciated after you've worked hard to earn something -- was well worth the extra quarter to me.
When I handed her the additional 25 cent tip, she said to me, "Oh, my sister will be so happy" and then mumbled something else I could not discern. My friend had a funny look on her face and when we got back in the car, asked me, "Do you believe what she said?" When I told her I did not hear it, she explained, "Well, I'm not sure you want to know. She said that her sister would be so happy because she is going to Germany."
Is it wrong to hope that little shyster buys some Kinder surprise eggs with that money?