Hope seemed lost for a New Jersey Girl Scout troop after a thief made off with almost $1200 of their money, but after hearing their story New Yorkers stepped up, opening their hearts and their wallets.
Troop 80062 set up their table full of Girl Scout cookies in the Woodbridge Center Mall, selling all the traditional favorites to save up for a group trip to Savannah, Ga to visit the home of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low.
In a heart-breaking turn of events though, an unidentified thief made off with the envelope containing the nearly $1200 in cash and checks the girls had made selling cookies.
But a group of generous New Yorkers stepped in to save the day, banding together to raise money to send the girls to Georgia.
Donors save Girl Scout trip after jerk stole $1K in cookie money https://t.co/ZFJ7Z7XMp6 https://t.co/JvLY5EMB0E— New York Post (@New York Post)1548204040.0
"We were shocked and devastated," troop leader Jessica Medina, 38 told the New York Post after the January 18 robbery.
"The girls had worked so hard. Everybody was crying."
The thief who approached the table with an elderly woman using a walker first asked the girls for a box of Caramel de Lites and some Peanut Butter Patties before he grabbed the envelope full of cash and checks Medina had put down on the table to help 11-year-old Olivia Limmer with the sale.
"I was behind the table and he reached over it to grab the envelope," Medina told the Post.
"He slipped it in his jacket. He did it very fast — in the blink of an eye"
By the time Medina realized the envelope was gone it was too late. The girls were devastated by the theft.
"I'm pretty angry. It's heartbreaking," said Olivia Limmer.
"You shouldn't steal from anybody, but stealing from Girl Scouts is even worse."
When Medina later posted about the incident on Facebook people were just as upset by the theft as the girls.
After the troop's heartbreaking story went viral, a group of kindhearted New Yorkers decided they weren't just going to sit back and watch.
"I don't want to see any child who works hard not get to fulfill her dreams," said Vince La Padula, one of the many donors who pledged more than $3500 already to fund the troop's trip to Savannah.
Padula, 47, who works in finance, has pledged $2200 for the trip.
"For these kids, their whole year depends on how much money they raise," Padula told the Post.
"I was an Eagle Scout myself. A lot of people grew up as Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, so I think they can relate."
Padula wasn't the only one moved by the girls story though.
After the story made headlines people began calling into the Post, offering to write checks.
"Me and my partner saw the article and wanted to help out." said one of the generous donors.
"My daughter was a Girl Scout, so this really got to me."
Another donor, Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Mineola, shared his disbelief with the Post when he called in to pledge $250.
"Children should trust in their elders. What kind of message does it send that an adult would come steal from them?"
And the offers of donations didn't stop there. On Facebook, pledges and offers to buy cookies came pouring in.
It is hard to imagine the type of person who would steal from a group of Girl Scouts, but thanks to the support of all the generous donors the girls' story had a much sweeter ending.