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Save the tigers with a glass of lemonade

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Last Sunday, a friend and I were on our way to Lake Lagunitas to meditate in our favorite redwood grove, and decided to stop for a few minutes in a coffee shop in the little town of Fairfax.  As we walked back to the car, I noticed an A4 piece of paper taped to a lamp post.  It was written in a child’s handwriting and the headline read: “Save the tigers with a glass of lemonade.”  Each of the letters was drawn in a different color.  The rest of the sign said: “We are raising money to save the most endangered tiger species: the South China tiger. Come to 95 Dominga Avenue to help these tigers by buying a glass of lemonade. The lemonade ranges from a cost of 50 cents to any amount you would like to donate to help.  Thank you.”

I turned to my friend who knows Fairfax well, and asked him where Dominga Avenue was.  “Nearby” he answered.  “Oh, let’s go, then,” I said.  “I’d love to support these young change-makers, and buy a glass of lemonade.  Could we?”  Three minutes later, we arrived at 95 Dominga Ave and discovered two young girls chatting with each other at a folding table set up on the sidewalk.  They could not have been older than 10 year old.  As we walked toward them, they gave each other a worried look, and before we even had a chance to ask anything, they apologetically explained that they had run out of lemonade.  “Oh, that’s fabulous,” I said.  “How much did you raise then?” “10 dollars!” one of them answered proudly with a beaming smile.  And the other added, “but we are now out of lemonade.”  “That’s ok,” I said.  “I did not really come for the lemonade. I just wanted to meet you and tell you that I am inspired by what you are doing.  What moved you to do this?”  They had heard about the fate of the tigers in school and wanted to do something about it.  “This is great, I commented.  I’d like to give you another $10 to help the tigers.” They both opened big round eyes, and thanked us a dozen times, finding it hard to believe that they could receive as much money in the form of a spontaneous gift, as they had earned during the previous few hours. My friend and I walked away feeling really giddy from this sweet encounter.  I wish the South China tigers knew that two young girls on the other side of the world care about them enough to spend their Sunday selling lemonades on their behalf.