On Saturday, June 6th, two of my colleagues and me set up our very first Alex’s Lemonade Stand as part of our company's (Royal Bank of Scotland) "One Week in June" volunteer project. In March of this year, we had looked at a few charities and decided that ALSF seemed like something we should be a part of. From the very beginning I decided that we needed more than a table to peddle our lemonade, and became determined to build a proper stand for big and little kids alike! The unique problem presented was that we needed something that could be easily taken apart and transported in a compact car to Central Park from my 3rd floor walk up in Brooklyn. Even though it was for a great cause, I must admit that somewhere deep-down, I wanted an excuse to make a scavenger hunt out of weekly visits to Home Depot while putting my tools to good use.
On my first visit to one of my local Home Depot’s, I hit the jackpot in the discounted scrap wood pile. Not many people know about this tiny section in the store with odd cuts of wood that may have just what you need. The huge heavy piece I needed for the tabletop was right there, already cut for me and a steal at about $3. Then laying nearby I spotted a discarded pallet cut into four even pieces."Could I use these scraggly awful scraps for legs?" I wondered. Home Depot let me have them for free and with a few hinges to make it all collapsible, my folding city stand began to take shape later that afternoon. Subsequent trips were not as fruitful and the small odds and ends I was looking for began to become elusive. Eventually, every piece I had been looking for found its way into my hands and by the late evening of June 4th my stand was ready for her close-up!
The next morning I shot an email and picture to ALSF just to show them what to look for on Saturday. I really didn't think much of it and felt I had only just built a stand that would pay homage to Alex's original own stand that I had seen in pictures. To my amazement, ALSF replied right away requesting me to bring it down for a segment on the Fox News Channel that Sunday morning with the Scott family. I could have never imagined when I was slapping the last drops of paint on my stand the night before that it would be put to such use! But now I'm getting ahead of myself...
Saturday at Central Park was the time and place where we hoped we could accomplish the most with what we had. Of all the dates and locations we could choose from on the map of NYC, I decided that the area by Columbus Circle near the entrance to Central Park would have the most potential for high traffic. Our gamble paid off, as not only did we sell about 17 gallons of both pink and yellow lemonade, we also had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world while introducing them to ALSF. Some of them knew about ALSF, others learned about it that day and others simply wanted a cold glass of lemonade on a warm June afternoon. There were so many distinct “only in New York” characters. One of the most memorable was the new bride and groom who had their first toast in front of our stand. In all, we managed to take in $575 for ALSF while having a blast on a gorgeous day.
The following morning, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't have much information to go on as the people at Fox News just told me to bring the stand down to their studio on 48th and 6th at 7:30am and not much else. Luckily, since it was so early when I arrived, there was parking right were I needed to be and I wouldn't have to lug the stand very far from my car. The producer from FN told me where to set up and it was ready to go in less than five minutes, which left me about an hour to hang in suspense to see how this panned out. My major fear was that my stand would collapse on national TV, become a viral video on YouTube and blacklist me from ALSF forever! As the clock ticked down to show time, I paced around and watched the star ("Wildman" Steve Brill) of the earlier segment pitch his penchant for recipes for food found in the wild. He's apparently known as "The Man Who Ate Central Park.” After what was probably no more than ten minutes but felt like an eternity, the producer led out Alex's Mom, Liz, and her younger bother, Eddie, out to the stand to set it up with lemonade and assorted ALSF items. After they welcomed me, the rest of the Scott family soon followed to shoot their live segment for "Fox & Friends". The Scotts were impressed with my "city stand" that could fold up to adapt to the needs of the city. Seeing them putting my stand to use blew my mind. I suppose I get it from my Dad, there's just nothing he can't do with his two hands, so it made me proud knowing he saw my work on what happens to be his favorite channel. Meeting Liz, Jay, Patrick, Eddie and Joey capped my brief yet incredible weekend with ALSF. I seriously have never met such a warm and dedicated family. Meeting them has only reinforced my desire to work with ALSF on future events.