Lemon-Aid: How One Police Officer Made a Girl’s Wish Come True

We have all attempted a money-making venture with the hopes of making it rich. For a 9-year-old girl from Ohio, launching a lemonade stand was about working hard for a goal: being able to purchase an electronic tablet to help with her schoolwork. One officer found inspiration in her efforts and made sure her dreams came true.

Gabrielle Garcar wasn’t looking to make it rich when she started tending to her lemonade stand outside her grandmother’s condo building in June 2015. She knew that hard work produced rewards, so she set a goal to raise enough money during the summer to buy a tablet because her family could not afford one.

Officers from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department became regular customers, and one deputy, Zak Ropos, was impressed by the little girl’s willingness to work hard for what she wanted. Ropos was inspired enough to go home and see if an old iPad that he was no longer using would work. The device was not operating, so the deputy soon found himself at Best Buy, where he purchased a brand new tablet for the lemonade entrepreneur who inspired him earlier that day.


Melissa Garcar / Today

Ropos was aware that it would be difficult for the 9-year-old to raise enough money selling lemonade, and instead of tipping her with cash, he delivered the brand new tablet to her at her brother’s football practice the following day.

It was a gesture of kindness, and one that Ropos did not intend to seek media attention for, yet has received over 2 million likes on Facebook. The idea of paying it forward was on Ropos’ mind when he handed the iPad to Gabrielle. He felt especially certain that his gift was the right thing to do after hearing how Gabrielle offered her lemonade stand money to her mother in order to fill up her gas tank. Seeing the 9-year-old’s smile was well worth the tablet many times over.

In a world where greed often overrides good deeds, the story of Gabrielle Garcar, Zak Ropos and his gesture of kindness reinforces the notion of paying it forward. Ropos, due to his efforts, made sure that this 9-year-old learned how hard work and generosity can lead to rewards beyond what you expect.

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