An 11-year-old boy in Everett, Washington set up a lemonade stand in August and hoped to earn some extra spending money. Unfortunately, one jerk gave the boy, named Jeremy, a $100 bill and asked for change. Jeremy Ryzhonkov could only scrounge up $85, using all he had saved up from his allowance. When Jeremy tried to break the $100 bill at a gas station, he learned the bill was fake, police said.
Back on Aug. 4, the Everett Police Department published a photo of the suspect, who gave Jeremy the $100 bill in exchange for lemonade. The man demanded exact change in return, and all Jeremy could scrounge up was $85. After the suspect left, Jeremy went to the nearby gas station, where he learned the bill was fake and he lost his allowance money.
"Very exhausted from working all day on a sunny day and felt very sad and disappointed," Jeremy later told KING5. He said he wanted to send some of his profits to help families in Ukraine, where some of his relatives still live. "I felt really bad that they have to suffer through this," Jeremy added. The day after the jerk stopped by Jeremy's stand, he was back outside selling drinks.
Amy Steenfott, who said she is a neighbor of Jeremy's family, later set up a GoFundMe page. She set the goal at just $250, which would cover Jeremy's loss and be enough to help him re-open his lemonade stand. After Jeremy's story went viral, the donations came pouring in. People donated over $25,000 before the GoFundMe page stopped accepting donations.
Jeremy's father, Sergiy Ryzhonkov, posted a message on the page on Aug. 15 to thank everyone for their outpouring of support. He said the family plans to put the money towards Jeremy's education. Jeremy has dreams to open a vending machine business in the future, but he also hopes to be a lawyer or even president to "help other countries to get out of their problems and find peace," Ryzhonkov wrote.
This is unfortunately not the only story of a young entrepreneur's faith in humanity being tested. Back in September 2016, a man allegedly gave a young girl a fake $50 bill in Monroe, Michigan. Maya Leachman, a fourth-grader at the time, hoped to raise money for Alzheimer's disease research. She didn't let that incident stop her, and she re-opened her stand in 2017. That year, Maya raised over $1,150 for the Monroe Walk to End Alzheimer's.