A young boy in Seattle proves that anybody can help others in need.
Ami Juel and her husband were watching the news about the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui when their 5-year-old son Edison asked them to turn off the television since the destruction was too much for him. They didn’t realize that Edison would be so affected by the tragedy, so they explained to him what happened to the place where they once visited.
Ami shared on an Instagram post that they stayed in the town of Lahaina in January and visited Hawaii before the wildfires. At a young age, Edison found it hard to believe that the place where he first tried snorkeling was now destroyed and that many people perished and lost their homes.
I was hoping he’d make maybe $100 if everything went well, and we were shocked at how generous everybody was. —Amy Juel, Edison’s mother
“It was Wednesday afternoon, we had the news on, and he asked me to turn it off because he said that made him too sad,” Edison’s mother, Ami Juel told USA TODAY.
“At that point, I realized he really was paying attention and listening, that we needed to actually address it. I hadn’t really intended to tell him about it necessarily.”
Edison wanted to help the families that were affected by the fires, especially the children. He suggested setting up a lemonade stand and donating all earnings to support the survivors in Maui. Ami and her husband immediately supported his idea and stocked up on the materials they needed for the stand.
Lemonade for Lahaina opened on a Saturday on a busy Seattle street. Edison sold pink and yellow lemonade, sparkling water, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, candy and even some of his toys. All are priced at $1 each, but most customers paid $5, $10 and $20 bills as part of their donation. A biker even gave $100 for a cup of lemonade.
The one-day business was a surprise for the Juel family. People came to buy summer refreshments and many donated online after learning about the business on the local news.
“Most people were like, ‘this is so cool. What a great idea. We’ve been looking for ways to help,'” said Ami. “A lot of people came by and stopped and told us like their story of a trip to Hawaii or some connection they had to the island.”
In addition to the lemonade stand and online donation, Ami and her husband got their corporate jobs to match whatever the lemonade stand earns. After a week, the Juel family had $17,000 to send to the Maui Community Fund.
“Well, I was hoping he’d make maybe $100 if everything went well, and we were shocked at how generous everybody was,” she said.
Ami shared that Edison had a great time during the whole process of selling lemonade and knowing that people will be helped because of his efforts. He especially loved to give out honest descriptions of his products such as, “The yellow lemonade isn’t that good. The pink one tastes a little bit like light and strawberries but without the berries.”
She recalls that as a young girl, she also had a lemonade stand, and she tells Edison that what he experienced was not usual for a street lemonade.
“I don’t think he understands that this is just like not a normal response.” She explained, “I had a lemonade stand as a kid. I remember waving and smiling for a long time hoping to get a car every now and then. But it was like, there’s periods where it was just every car stopped.”
Edison’s parents are proud of his empathy, creativity and generosity. At a young age, Eddie already thinks of how to help those in need.