Nearly all of us smile when we spot a kid’s lemonade stand on the side of the road. We’re happy to shell out a few quarters to get a cold drink and see a big grin spread across the seller’s face. But for every bunch of pleasant customers, unfortunately, there’s one bad lemon in the bunch.
At not even ten years of age, this California girl set up a small business to help her neighbors cool off. Her entrepreneurial efforts took a big hit, however, when a stranger approached with a threat that put her entire future — not just her business venture — in jeopardy.
Jordan Rodgers was a San Francisco kid with big dreams. Unlike other eight-year-olds, she was always setting different plans into motion. As she would soon learn, unfortunately, some people felt threatened by her precociousness.
Instagram / Erin Austin
In June of 2018, a heat wave blasted the entire Bay Area. Residents had to do whatever they could to stay cool. Even a momentary splash of water could provide a lot of relief.
CBS Los Angeles
Jordan could’ve stayed cool inside all day, but she saw an opportunity. With so many dehydrated people walking by her apartment building, she knew she could make a killing selling ice-cold beverages. The money would go to a worthy cause, too.
Bay Area News Group / Ray Chavez
That summer, Jordan wanted nothing more than to go to Disneyland. Though her mom wasn’t sure they could afford it, Jordan understood that she could pay her own way — if everything went according to plan, that is.
After making a quick supply run, the budding entrepreneur set up a water stand outside her building. Jordan’s little brother also joined her, more for moral support than anything else.
It was impressive that Jordan took initiative all on her own. Erin, her mother, stood nearby to make sure everything was under control, but she didn’t want to micromanage her daughter’s project.
Instagram / ladyesowavy
The first couple of hours exceeded Jordan’s wildest expectations. With a steady flow of pedestrians making their way to the nearby San Francisco Giants game, Jordan had plenty of customers. The second she shouted, “Water!” a stack of bills came her way.
After dozens of worry-free sales, another stranger approached Jordan’s water stand. However, she didn’t seem the least bit interested in a cold drink. With a phone in her hand and scowl on her face, she looked like she was out for blood.
Her name was Alison Ettel, though she didn’t extend the courtesy of introducing herself. She barked that she was trying to work across the street, but Jordan was being too noisy. Moreover, she claimed, the eight-year-old was breaking the law.
Allegedly, the little girl was selling water without a permit. Jordan didn’t know quite how to respond, but she didn’t pack up and leave either. Alison, getting further out of control, whipped out her cell phone and dialed 9-1-1.
Seeing this woman threaten and intimidate her daughter over permits, Erin’s first instinct was to attack her. She knew that would only justify her tirade, however, but if she recorded Alison’s outrageous behavior, Erin could prove that she was the true villain.
The Witchita Eagle
Erin brandished her own phone and took a video of Alison’s 9-1-1 call. Barely able to string together coherent sentences, she told authorities that a little girl was selling goods on her property without a permit. Alison then hid behind a nearby wall, clearly ashamed.
At last, Alison scurried off. Erin saw her daughter was really upset by the encounter, so she went out for justice. She posted the video online, hoping to shame Alison into an apology, nicknaming her Permit Patty. It went viral almost instantly.
Internet users compared this incident to an Oakland controversy earlier that summer. Another middle-aged white woman, dubbed BBQ Becky, called the police on a black family for having a cookout in the park. Many thought Jordan’s case was even worse.
Twitter / Jeffrey Guterman
As people all over the world denounced Permit Patty, Alison stepped forward to explain herself. She did apologize to Jordan and her family on The Today Show, while making one bold claim. Apparently, she only pretended to call the cops to persuade the girl to move.
However, police records caught Alison in a big fat lie. They revealed they had the full transcript of her 9-1-1 conversation, proving she really had overreacted. Days later, even stranger details about Alison emerged.
Alison Ettel was the CEO of a company called TreatWell Health. They specialized in pain-relieving products containing marijuana extract. Despite a fair amount of publicity, Alison and her colleagues operated in a legally gray area themselves.
San Francisco Chronicle
Not only were they working around the constantly-evolving U.S. drug laws, but they also made some dangerous proposals. Most controversially, Alison advocated the use of marijuana products on dogs, with almost no scientific basis to back her up.
Alison resigned and vanished into the ether, but Jordan was still shaken up by that day. Luckily, a bunch of her neighbors came together to cheer her up. They helped Jordan set up a huge concession stand, with all the proceeds going toward her education.
Instagram / Erin Austin
But there was one more surprise in store for Jordan. One anonymous donor gifted her tickets to Disneyland! With her summer dream in place and funds for the future secure, Jordan’s summer was back on track.
Best of all, Jordan learned that most people out there really appreciate you making a difference, even if you’re just a kid. Seven-year-old Addie Bryan would certainly agree with that fact as well…
Jeff and Julie Bryan had a flood of happiness rush at them on the day their daughter Addie was born. That unbridled joy that day didn’t last long, however. Addie almost didn’t make it.
The moment they laid eyes on Addie, the Bryans saw something was wrong. Their baby had hip dysplasia, a club foot, and two knees that bent backwards. With a rare case of Larsen syndrome, the doctors doubted she’d ever walk.
Just days old, Addie underwent her first surgery. Dozens and dozens more followed over the next few years, with the Bryans estimating that their daughter went through 70 casts throughout her early childhood.
The Bryans placed their full faith in the staff of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, located near their home in Dallas. Over the years, it built a sterling reputation for treating orthopedic conditions, particularly in children.
After years of medical intervention, there still wasn’t assurance that Addy would be able to lead a normal childhood. But amid all the darkness, the Bryans still clung tightly to a glimmer of hope — one member especially.
By the time she reached seven years old, Addy didn’t see herself as any different from other kids. She made the best of everything, despite her situation. Soon, her results began to impress everyone around her.
Though her legs still retained a slightly bent shape, Addie’s range of movement grew by leaps and bounds. Before long, she started to spend more time zipping around on her scooter than cooped up in the hospital.
And that wasn’t all. She could even run! Everyone understood that she had come an incredibly long way from her troubled infancy. There was no doubt about Addie’s good fortune, but something started to nag at her.
With her eighth birthday approaching, Addie knew she was incredibly lucky. Thanks to the folks at Scottish Rite Hospital, she could run, walk, and jump wherever she wanted. Addie only hoped every other kid could do the same.
One morning, Julie Bryan found her daughter tallying up her meager life’s savings. Addie shocked her by saying that she wasn’t just doing this for fun. She was looking to make a donation.
Addie wanted to make a real difference for the Scottish Rite Hospital in the form of a donation. Her mom suggested she open a lemonade stand with a couple friends to raise more money, but ultimately, that tactic only raised $60.
So, knowing she needed to get more aggressive, she grabbed a marker and some poster board and drew up a sign requesting donations for the hospital. Then, she ran out to her street corner in hopes of collecting a fortune.
Despite the sweltering Texas heat, Addie had an easy time standing on the corner once she saw the contributions roll in. Neighbors and complete strangers alike seemed happy to help out even if it was with just a few dollars.
After a couple months, Addie had built up a nice pile of money. Still, she was really looking to make a big fundraising leap in the final weeks before her birthday. Addie thought she could expand her operations beyond the street corner.
Addie and her parents reached out to a local restaurant called the Cotton Patch Cafe. They agreed to hold a charity event, and Addie went all out! Channeling her inner Pat Sajak, she set up a wheel of prizes to pack the house.
By the time her eighth birthday rolled around, Addie raised a whopping $19,500 for the hospital. For an institution that relied so much on charitable donations, this was huge. Not even Addie’s parents could believe she singlehandedly raised such a sum.
Her efforts gained a lot of attention. A number of outlets shared her story, from her local news station to People magazine! A live TV interview was a good birthday present, to be sure, but Addie was about to get a better one.
FOX 4 News
Stephanie Brigger, the hospital’s Vice President of Development, called the Bryans to share some big news: an anonymous donor felt so touched by Addie’s story that he decided to share a contribution of his own.
The Good Samaritan sent Scottish Rite an additional $50,000 in Addie’s name. That meant this eight year old’s donation totaled just under 70k! Most people couldn’t believe it, but this was exactly what Addie wanted.
She said she was glad to give so many other kids a shot at a happy life, as her gift could provide countless casts and prosthetics. Addie Bryan didn’t need anything else for her birthday. She proved that the best gift is giving back.