Gladstone boy whose lemonade stand troubles went viral gets surprise from officers across the US

GLADSTONE, Mo. -- When his lemonade stand received threats this summer, Gladstone police stepped in to help.

Now, even more first-responders from across the country have shown support for a young boy just trying to do his part.

Back in July, 8-year-old Jacob Blank set up a lemonade stand in his front yard, raising money for church missionaries. So he simply couldn't understand why anyone would threaten put his shop out of business for not having a permit.

"I was like, 'Whoa! What's crazy with him? Why you want to shut me down? It's just lemonade! Come on!'" Blank told FOX4 this summer.

After that incident, Gladstone's finest from the police department showed their support in droves, buying some 50 cent sweet sips and snapping a few selfies.

Jacob Blank with Gladstone police in July 2018

But Jacob's troubles didn't end. A few weeks later, someone vandalized his stand.

The two stories went viral and came across the computer screen of MassArt Police Sgt. Matt Hurley in Boston, who sent a letter to Jacob's mom, which read in part: "At times it may seem like the cards are stacked against us, but always keep your head up and continue to do the right thing."

Not only did Hurley ink that heartwarming letter, he also reached out to his first-responder family.

Over the next several weeks, he collected bracelets, coins, a t-shirt and 75 badges from around the country as a show of support for Jacob.

Jacob Blank

"Just to see this love, it's overwhelming to see this man who doesn't know Jacob from Adam, saw his story and felt for him," said Gina Martin, Jacob's mom.

Hurley even FaceTimed with Jacob at his elementary school, where Gladstone police and Clay County deputies helped pull off an epic surprise.

"Even through we're 1,200 miles away, we wanted to let you know we support you and you're part of our team," Hurley said.

Jacob was all smiles as he opened the box of badges, accompanied by a thin blue and red line flag.

"I felt surprised and super happy and just wanted to say thank you," Jacob said.

Jacob Blank with Gladstone police and Clay County deputies

Hurley hopes his gesture is a reminder we can all do our part to give back.

"Never let others destroy your dreams. It is a wonderful thing when you help others," the letter written to Jacob said.

We can also strive to show respect to all our fellow man.

"Sometimes people just have great hearts, and all they need is a little bit of a boost and it sets them on a great path for the rest of their life," Hurley said.

Jacob's formed a strong connection to police after all they've done for him.

This fall, he donated the last chunk of his lemonade stand sales to FOX4's Working for Blue police vest drive and told us if he sets up shop next summer, all the change he earns will support our efforts.

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