A San Diego family got some unexpected encouragement after a thief stole money from them while they were selling Girl Scout cookies.
Five-year-old Natalie has been trying to sell as many boxes of cookies as she can so she can reach her goal of sending her and her 12-year-old sister Siobhan to summer day camp together.
“Girl Scout camp is one of the only camps Siobhan can go to because they have a full time nurse on staff,” their mother Andrea Cameron said.
Siobhan has panhypopituitarism, which causes a growth hormone deficiency. She requires hormone injections every night as well as other medications.
“I can’t control my body temperature,” Siobhan said. “When people are hot, it’s like super duper hot to me and when people are cold I’m like feeling like I’m getting frostbite.”
“[Siobhan is] hoping that she can be a counselor in training at the same camp that her little sister goes to,” Cameron said.
The girls had a cookie booth in Ocean Beach last Saturday and Sunday, and Cameron said she noticed something was missing when they got home.
“It was all the Operation Thin Mint money,” Cameron said.
Operation Thin Mint accepts cash donations to send boxes of cookies overseas to troops. The thief got away with around $50, after the sisters had worked hard all day.
“When you’re stealing the cookie money from a kid, you’re keeping them from reaching their goal,” Cameron said.
“I wanted to go out and like hunt down whoever stole the money and slap them,” Siobhan said. “They should know not to steal money especially from a little girl.”
Cameron vented her anger on Facebook, with a fiery post calling out the thief.
"I turned to Facebook kind of posting out my frustration,” Cameron said. "That's when it kind of took something from a negative to a positive."
Dozens of people reached out offering to buy cookies from the girls, and offering to donate the money to replace what was stolen.
“I can’t even describe how I felt when people just started offering their help,” Cameron said. " We actually reached what was missing and exceeded it.”
Cameron says they will donate whatever cash donations they receive to Operation Thin Mint.
“When something bad happens, you feel like there’s nobody good left in the world," Cameron said. "And then when you have something like a bunch of people you don’t even know offering to donate towards getting things back on track, it just kind of gives you that feeling of 'OK, there’s still some good people out there, the world’s still a decent place.'"
Natalie's goal is to sell around 600 boxes of cookies; she has sold about 350 boxes so far.
The family will be selling more cookies Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pilot Travel Center at 1497 Piper Ranch Road in San Diego.
Cameron says people can also e-mail her directly if they want to buy cookies from her daughters. Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.