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lemonade stand, jeremy ryzhonkov, ukraine

An unknown man scams an 11-year-old boy for $85.

There are few things more despicable than robbing a child’s lemonade stand. That’s probably why people in Everett, Washington, and around the country are rallying around 12-year-old Jeremy Ryzhonkov.

According to a report by the Everett Police Department, Jeremy was selling lemonade and snacks on the street when he was approached by a man who asked for $15 worth of drinks but only had a $100 bill. Jeremy gave the man $85 change from his allowance but after the man left, the boy noticed the bill looked a little strange.

“The numbers looked different on each color and the hundred dollar bill was smaller and the color was kind of different,” Jeremy told King 5 News.

Jeremy ran the bill over to a gas station where the attendant told him it was a fake. The gas station attendant called the Everett police who put a call out for the man on Facebook.


What makes the suspect’s actions even more awful is that half of the proceeds from the lemonade stand were going to help families in war-torn Ukraine. So he stole from a child and struggling families.

“I felt really bad that they have to suffer through this,” said Jeremy.

However, the crime didn’t stop the young entrepreneur from running his business. He set up his stand again the next day to sell lemonade to his neighbors. One of them gave him a marker to help detect fake bills and others stopped by to support his stand and help him recoup the lost money.

After news of the story got out, Jeremy’s neighbor, Amy Steenfott, put together a GoFundMe campaign for the boy asking for $250 to help offset his losses and raise some capital for his small business.

“Jeremy is 11 years old and quite the entrepreneur,” she wrote on the website (he’s had a birthday since the post). “He is a hard-working boy between his lemonade stand, which is so much more than just lemonade (If you're ever craving cotton candy you know who to see), mowing neighbors' yards and shoveling snow in the winter. He has dreams of owning his own vending machine business in the future.”

The campaign went viral and since being started on August 4 it has raised nearly 100 times the original request. As this article is being written, the campaign has raised more than $24,000. What a blessing for Jeremy and the families in Ukraine.

"Needless to say I, as well as Jeremy’s family, are overwhelmed,” Steenfott wrote in an update to the GoFundMe campaign. “Jeremy doesn’t know the amount of love and support you all have sent just quite yet. We are trying to figure out how to do this."

The Everett police haven’t made any announcements about whether the suspect has been apprehended or not.

Even though it appears as though the man hasn’t been brought to justice, the incident was a wonderful lesson to teach young Jeremy. Even though there are some bad people out there, they are wildly outnumbered by good-hearted ones who won’t stand for kids being victimized.

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