Niceville lemonade stand is reported to 911, police defend children
NICEVILLE — Thanks to a local pastor and city police, the recent efforts of a would-be Scrooge to extinguish the work of some young entrepreneurs backfired in a big way.
When Officer Thomas Bronson investigated the matter, he found the source that had oddly raised concern: a couple girls running a lemonade stand on the grounds of Faith Independent Baptist Church on Valparaiso Boulevard.
“It was just one person who was upset about it,” Police Chief David Popwell said Monday. “The kids were great. They were on church property and were selling lemonade. They were kids. I saw no problem.”
Neither did Bronson, who gave the children a $100 bill.
Douglas Stauffer, pastor of Faith Independent Baptist, knew the kids and also supported their efforts.
“I got a call that some kids were set up on the church property with a table and chairs,” the Rev. Stauffer said in a recent Facebook post. “I asked what they were doing — and was told, selling lemonade. I said I would rather them be learning the value of money now, so we let them go.”
He then thanked Bronson “for living out the Nice of Niceville.”
The lemonade stand kids’ interaction with city police didn’t end there.
The girls later challenged the police to a water balloon fight, and the officers accepted while continuing the spirit of goodwill.
The battle recently ensued at Lincoln Park, where Popwell, other members of the Police Department and scores of kids received a severe soaking from water balloons and water guns.
Several children “bombed me as soon as I got onto the field,” the chief said with a laugh.