This Ain't Your Mama's Lemonade Stand
It was a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon on a gorgeous spring day. The sun decided to hide behind the clouds, keeping it a cool 74 degrees. The extra wide residential street was aligned with huge oak trees stretching as out and up towards the sky.
Before the day began, I was taking an early morning run around the neighborhood and saw rows of tents being set up with a variety of offerings…jewerly, antiques, clothing, crafts and even some food vendors setting up their stations. I saw streets being block off with barricades and the calm and relaxed smiles on people faces as they conversed with each other, slowly setting up their stations. What’s happening here today? I had to come back later to find out.
As we strolled through the street, the rest of the tents were set up and there was a small, scattered crowd just wandering as we were; quietly, calmly browsing and enjoying the day. Then we heard it…it came from afar but we could hear it clearly. “Lemonaaaaadddddeee, cooooookies….” It was a voice of a young girl, about 10 years old, riding her bicycle down the street, advertising her booth. The voice was getting a bit louder as she got closer to us. “Lemonaaaaadddddeee, coooookies….” The voice was determined, bold, authoritative, yet gentle and authentic, not at all needy. She demanded respect, and it was obvious that she had it. The vendors around her wished they had the same boldness and charm. And she knew it. She was proud and she knew that once we tasted her lemonade and cookies, we would be changed forever. We looked at each other and smiled, “Wow! That girl is something. She’s gonna be somebody!”
We eventually made it to the lemonade stand. And immediately realized that this ain’t your mama’s lemonade stand. No offense to mamas. But, oh my! It’s was the lemonade stand of all lemonade stands. Oh the details…down to the sign that hung above the stand that was painted with a child’s font with a backward “E”. Three other kids (younger) were attending the stand; one greeted us and the two others were in the back prepping the cups and ice. Once our order was placed, the fresh lemonade was delivered immediately with a smile. One child then led us to the cookie display table and while we were browsing through the cookies…she came…on her bike. She was obviously the boss. She rushed to the stand and called out the order with her same authoritative, yet gentle voice. She handed them the $5 bill and they gave her (3) $1 dollar bills in change. She folded it neatly in her hand and held the new cup of lemonade on the same hand, keeping the (3) $1 dollar bills between the cup and her little palm. I looked over at her and said, “Oh, you deliver too?” Without missing a beat she said, “Yup, I know how to ride one–handed.” And with a quick turn of her handle bars, she took off down the street, into the sunset.
I don’t know how many people she inspired that day, but I am certain it was a big number. As an entrepreneur, I am easily inspired by those who are all in. Not just because they are passionate, but also because they believe in their mission. They believe in their products, and they believe that it can change those who come to be a part. It’s given by the way they speak, think and act. You can clearly hear it in their voice…spoken with determination, boldness, authority…yet with gentleness and authenticity…it’s not at all needy.
Oh, and the lemonade? It was the best lemonade I’ve ever tasted. It changed me forever…