When did the world become so jaded? I know, as a newscaster, I’m at least partially responsible for this. Hardly a day goes by that we aren’t talking about some new scam, but last week I was stupefied by just how skeptical we’ve become as a society.
A couple of weeks ago, Purity dairy was trying to help raise money for Rocketown. (For those of you who have been living under a rock, this is a downtown ministry that caters to teens and young adults.) Anyway, Purity has a fundraiser they offer non-profits where they GIVE the charity about fifteen gallon drums of Moose Tracks ice cream. Purity will then pay the charity one dollar on top of that for every scoop they hand out in a three-hour period, up to 10-thousand dollars. Are you following me? Purity is giving the ice cream away, AND paying the charity a dollar on top of that for every scoop they hand out to people on the street… FOR FREE!
A couple of weeks ago, Rocketown was the beneficiary of this good fortune, and they asked a couple of us here at the station to come down and be “celebrity scoopers”. I was quite flattered by this, being that I’m only a “D” level celebrity at best, and all of the real celebrities were already in town for CMA week.
So I’m standing next to Scott Hamilton (yes… the Gold medalist) scooping out ice cream like Lindsay Waggoner on an episode of the bionic woman, when I realize… no one’s biting. People were literally walking by the tent, REFUSING, to take a free scoop of ice cream. This should be punishable by a fine in my opinion.
You would have thought we were luring them to some seedy time share off Nolensville road in exchange for a scoop. These people looked at us like we were a bunch of carneys trying to steal their money. No matter how many times we said, “It’s free… take it,” they simply couldn’t process the fact that we were GIVING them something… FOR ZERO DOLLARS.
At one point, Scott “the gold medalist” Hamilton had to physically walk out into the street and start begging tourists to take a scoop. This guy could be busting out a triple toe loop on any ice skating rink in the country, but instead, he’s standing out on lower Broad in 90 degree heat, with moose tracks running down his elbow. Talk about taking one for the team! Eventually, people started recognizing him and asking for a photo ops… but still wouldn’t take the free ice cream!
Finally, I decided… time was money, and we were losing the battle. I went out to the street corner to work my magic, but I wasn’t nearly as courteous as Scott. My pitch went something like this, “Do you want some free ice cream? Ok great! Thanks for nothing. You just cost a kid a dollar. I hope you’re happy with yourself!” This got their attention!
Unfortunately, it also got the attention of the big wigs at Purity who were less than thrilled about my strong-arm tactics. I was quickly ushered back to the ice cream scooping chain gang… far out of sight (or earshot) of any potential clients.
Anyway, the whole ugly episode just made me wonder when and how we became so jaded. When did we lose all faith in our fellow-man. Not EVERYTHING that seems to good to be true is. The next time someone tries to give you a free ice cream cone, just shut up and take it!