Thursday, July 2, 2015

"I just wanted to see a smile on her face..."

Gabby Garcar, 9, will be in fourth grade this August. More than anything, she wants an iPad, not just to play games but also to access the Internet for school assignments. She knows her Mom can't afford such an expensive gift, so she decided to open a lemonade stand outside her Grandma's condo building in Lake County, Ohio. One of her first customers was a deputy Sheriff who paid $3.00 for a fifty-cent cup and promised to tell fellow officers about her. A few minutes later, deputy Zak Ropos pulled up. He's only 22, and has been with the department eight months. He knew her lemonade stand wasn't going to bring enough money for a tablet, so he drove home to see if his old one still worked. It didn't, so he went to Best Buy and purchased a new tablet for her.

"She's nine years old and willing to work for what she wants," he said. "People have helped me out in my life, so it was kind of like a pay-it-forward type thing." This photo, taken by Gabby's mom, was posted on the Sheriff's Facebook page and viewed more than 2 million times, but Ropos says he didn't expect media attention since he works among other generous officers. One of his lieutenants recently donated $200 to a needy family, and two fellow deputies bought a bicycle for a boy who needed help getting to soccer practice. "That's how it is in Lake County," he says. "Everyone is caring here. We all give our shirt off our back for people. I just wanted to see the smile on the little girl's face. That was worth a million dollars to me, so that's why I did it."

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