It's said when life gives you lemons, to make lemonade. For one enterprising Hot Springs teen, making lemonade got him exactly what he wanted, thanks to the generosity and caring of several good Samaritans.
Kaleb Hayes, 14, had set up a lemonade stand outside his home in the 300 block of Woodlawn Avenue Thursday with the plan to raise enough money to buy a bicycle. His recently divorced mother, Nicole Hayes, didn't have a car, and he thought he could use a bike to run errands or go to the store as needed.
Within a few short hours, he would be given two bicycles and sold so much lemonade he had to call his mother to bring more supplies as the community rallied to his support.
Nicole Hayes said Kaleb, his sister, Keely, 11, and his cousins and some other neighborhood kids had sold lemonade in the past, and she assumed it would be another day with him hopefully raising a few dollars.
That all changed after Jeremy Porter, of Hot Springs, a college student at Lyon College in Batesville, happened to pass by that afternoon.
"I was driving by and saw the kid trying to sell lemonade to raise money," Porter said Friday. "So I decided to buy a couple cups off of him to help promote a young entrepreneur. I asked him what he was raising the money for, and he told me it was to get a bike so he could help his mom get anything from Kroger, a few blocks away."
Porter posted about Kaleb Hayes' efforts on Garland County Swap Shop, a Facebook group, "just to see if anyone would go out of their way to buy some lemonade or maybe help him get a bike by way of donating one or selling one cheap to me to get him one."
"The post kinda blew up with a lot of people concerned and a good amount of people willing to help," Porter said.
In less than an hour, the post had more than 100 comments and caught the eye of Jeremy Davis, of Hot Springs, who said he was "just scrolling through Facebook" and was on several swap pages.
"It just touched me. One, this generation nowadays just don't know how to go out and try to earn money for something they want. It seems like they just stare at their phones," he said, laughing.
"So that part really touched me. My childhood was the same way. I had to work for everything I wanted. My son is 11 and I've always bought him the first of everything he wanted, like a bike, but made him save up his money to buy the next one. I always tried to teach my kid to do what this kid was doing," Davis said.
"I just felt like the Lord was telling me to do something. I feel very blessed these days and knew I could help," he said, noting he stopped by and talked to Kaleb Hayes, who explained what he was doing.
"I asked him his favorite color and he told me it was blue and I told him I would be right back," he said. "The look he gave me was priceless like he wasn't sure what I was going to do."
Davis went to Wal-Mart and bought the only blue bicycle they had, hoping it would be the right size. He said when he returned he discovered another person, Whitney Monroe, who had also seen the post, had already dropped off a 10-speed mountain bike.
"I could tell he was appreciative, but it wasn't really what he wanted. It was a little too big for him," he said.
"I asked him what he was wanting and he described the size and that he wanted smooth tires. I pulled out the one I had bought and it was exactly what he wanted," he said.
"He tried to give me all the money he had raised so far, but I told him to keep it and do what he wanted with the money. It was just one of them deals. Something I felt led to do. I bought a cup of lemonade and bless his heart, it was kind of warm, but it was the best lemonade I've ever had," Davis said.
Asked if he knew Davis was going to buy him a bike, Kaleb Hayes said, "I didn't know for sure, but I was hoping. I was screaming inside my head. I was very happy."
He said he "felt weird" getting two bikes within just a few minutes, noting he was worried he was being greedy. He gave the 10-speed to his sister and it was the right size for her.
"It feels great using social media for something positive and helping a kid out who decided he wanted to earn money," Porter said after learning what happened. "Praise God for the works he does and the people he uses."
Nicole Hayes said she had been working with her mother, who owns a cleaning company, that day when Kaleb called her saying he needed more sugar and lemonade. Before she could return home to bring him the supplies, she said her brother came by where they were and "he had tears in his eyes and asked me, 'Have you been home?'"
She said she and her mother read Porter's post and all the comments, "Oh my Gosh. We both started crying. We got in the truck to run home and as we pulled up they were both riding their bikes. Just cheesing and smiling. They had completely abandoned the lemonade stand," she said, laughing.
"So many people came that day. All kinds of people. Every type of person. A Pizza Hut driver, an older lady in a Mercedes-Benz, some workers," she said, noting they all told Kaleb they had seen it on Facebook.
She said they had only moved into their house about two months ago, after her divorce, and Kaleb was still having a hard time with everything. "There couldn't have been a better time for someone to do this," she said.
Local on 06/13/2017
Print Headline: Teen's lemonade stand bears unexpected fruit