Girl Scout Cookies & Connections: An Inspiring Tale of Breaking Down Barriers From the Girl Scouts Cookie Dad by Michael Kennedy
"The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers." – Juliette Gordon Low
As Girl Scout cookie season comes to a close, and as a proud costume-wearing “Cookie Dad,” I wanted to congratulate all the girls and cookie parents, guardians or friends that gave it a whirl during this exceptionally different year. We have always put it on our girl(s) to do the work's lion's share, and this awkward and unique year was no exception.
All told, our little ladies went way beyond their goals. Sorry, I had to put that in here as a proud dad. Every day, every post-school time window of selling, and all interaction and up-sell belonged to them. Behind a plexiglass shield, masked up and hand sanitized to the gills, they got it done – because they wanted to.
But that aside, it's a privilege to be a part of something so special each year in many ways. We live in a very diverse city located in a very diverse region. Every year, no matter what is going on in the world, we are thrilled to interact with the dozens of people of all races, religions, colors, shapes and sizes that come by every year. We go door to door, we put signs up on our street and we create a drive-thru-esque environment, inviting people to knock on our door and place their orders anytime during the day. We bask in the differences and the characters that come to call, and thrive in the conversations each year for a month, and always walk away feeling changed for the better.
We see it all – from Teslas to Toyotas to tow trucks and tricycles and low-riders to lifted trucks. No matter what rolls up, who pulls in or who knocks, I can say unequivocally that each interaction is incredibly polite and massively kind on both sides of the equation. Some people are just getting off work and will tell you about their day; others will share their childhood stories and which cookie was their favorite. Many will retell the stories of when they were my girl's ages and their girls' scout cookies and sales. We had regulars; we had funny teens, sweet seniors and everything in between. Like the people, the tales and heart-to-heart chats were from all over the map.
Beyond giving extra boxes to front-line workers, my personal favorite account this year was owed to an elderly Asian man that pushes his wife, who uses a wheelchair, around the block every day, and makes it a point to stop and wave to the girls. Occasionally, over the course of the month, he will make a purchase. This year he didn't have the strength in his hands to open his box, and my younger daughter, without hesitation, opened his package so he and his wife could quietly enjoy a cookie on their pilgrimage. He smiled and went on his way. He doesn't speak English, but it doesn't matter. Something so simple, yet so heartwarming and beautiful, was a testament to kind-heartedness from all angles. Yes, I teared up.
In a time of such division, racial tension, inequality and divisiveness, we have found an oasis in the commonality of the human condition. At the core, we are all the same: have the same love in our hearts, dreams, goals and wants for a safe, secure, fulfilling and kind life. Sometimes it takes something as simple as a story, a sunny day and a fresh Thin Mint to get to know someone to break down those barriers. Five minutes to celebrate difference, perhaps change a preconceived notion, have a conversation, or at least momentarily, change a life.
Unity, goodness and humanity around something as simple as Girl Scout cookies? Who knew?
Maybe the Girl Scouts have known all along.
Photos: Bigstock (2013)
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