“I remember the first Baskin Robbins to come to Saint-Petersburg, Russia. It opened in the mid-90s when I was about seven years old, and was located on Nevsky Prospect, right in the heart of the city. My younger sister and I walked past it at least once a month, and every time, we dreamt of tasting the ice cream there. Particularly, the ice cream cake. Unfortunately, at the time, my family simply couldn't afford it.
One day while walking past it, we saw a billboard promoting an arts & crafts contest that they were holding, and the grand prize: an enormous mouthwatering ice cream cake. This was our chance! We raced home and quickly began brainstorming ideas for our submission. Over the course of the next week, we worked furiously on the best contest submission we could think of. I still remember it - a diorama set up in a shoebox of a family of cheerful ice cream cones that visited a friendly bunch of Brachiosaurus in the Jurassic Park (we were obsessed with the original movie that came out in 1993). My mother helped us a lot, so it looked really great. I was sure we would win.
The following week, bursting with excitement, we carted our masterpiece to the shop. We were greeted with confused and surprised looks. The girl behind the counter told us that the contest was over and that the grand prize, the ice cream cake we had been dreaming of, had already been awarded. The staff took our diorama anyway, and gave us two plastic frisbees as a consolation prize.
I still remember how rejected and defeated we felt as we made our way home. Worse, only after leaving the shop did we realize that we regretted giving our diorama away. We had exchanged a week of our hard work for two disappointing plastic circles. Looking back, I think we were just not brave enough to stand up for ourselves, ashamed that we couldn't even afford the cake on our own." -- I told my fiancé one evening after she had asked for a story from my childhood.
- "I can understand why that would still upset you", she remarked.
- "I don't really feel badly for myself anymore.” I mused. “I think I just feel saddened that there are still many children that can’t afford ice cream".
"You know what?!", I leaped from the bed. "I can do something about this! I will get an ice cream cake and I will make some kids day!"
And that's exactly what I did. I went I got 6 giant cakes for the local boys and girls afterschool program.
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