Noah Tyler loves popcorn season.
The 8-year-old Bear Scout from California was his pack’s top seller last year and was eager to do even better this year.
On Sept. 26, he was more than halfway to his sales goal when something horrible happened. A family friend, visiting from out of town, stole the envelope containing Noah’s popcorn money and disappeared without a trace.
You can’t get much lower than stealing money from a Cub Scout. But this story, thanks to the kindness of a stranger a state away, has a happy ending.
Noah’s mom, Megan, agreed to let me share Noah’s story.
An unexpected guest
Noah is part of a proud Scouting family of four. His mom’s the den leader, his older sister is a Girl Scout, and his little brother will join Lions next year.
Noah’s popcorn sales were off to such a great start that Noah was thinking of increasing his goal.
“He believed he could do more to support his pack,” Megan says.
But then, on Sept. 18, that family “friend” came to visit. Megan says she hadn’t seen this friend in more than a year, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him show up.
In the spirit of kindness, the family let him stay on the couch. The next day, the friend hurt his back and needed emergency surgery, Megan says. This extended the stay by about a week.
When Megan and her kids returned home on Sept. 26, the friend was gone. And so was Noah’s envelope containing all his popcorn money.
A frantic search
“I tried to call, message and text [the friend], because I was in disbelief that someone that I had been friends with for over 20 years would do such a despicable thing as stealing from a child,” Megan says.
Noah, who had worked hard for weeks to make those sales, was in tears when Megan told him what happened.
“We all spent a night letting our emotions take over and figuring out how to make up the lost money,” Megan says.
The family lives on a tight budget, so Megan and the kids went through each room looking for items they could sell to replace the stolen money. They sold as much as they could and made most of the money back.
But the theft dampened Noah’s drive to sell popcorn, and he didn’t meet his goal.
A knock on the door
On Oct. 30, Megan’s neighbor knocked on her door to tell her about a surprising phone call.
The neighbor told Megan he had gotten a call from someone named Andy Moe who lives in Washington state.
Andy told the neighbor that he had found a check the neighbor had written for Cub Scout popcorn. The neighbor gave Andy’s number to Megan, and Megan called as soon as she closed the door.
Andy said he had been in California with his family for vacation. They spent the night in a hotel, and when they went to the parking lot in the morning, their truck was gone.
The police found the truck at a nearby casino. Among the belongings inside: an envelope with the word “Cubs” on it and a couple of personal checks.
Andy called the phone numbers on the checks to track down their owners. He wanted information about the person who had stolen his truck and these checks.
Megan explained the situation to Andy and gave him information about the family friend.
A letter in the mail
On Nov. 14, Megan opened her mailbox to find an envelope from Andy. Inside, she found Noah’s envelope and a money order made out to Noah’s pack.
The note read, simply, “hope this helps.” The money order’s value was more than what had been stolen from Noah.
“We are dumbfounded and extremely grateful to the thoughtfulness and generosity of this man,” Megan says. “I cannot think of any way to thank him and show the enormity of our appreciation. If there was such a thing as a ‘Good Samaritan Award,’ I would like to nominate Andy.”
Thanks to one stranger’s kindness, Noah loves popcorn season once again.