While some Fairfield residents were upset about the pace of power restoration following Hurricane Sandy, a group of Girl Scouts from Roger Ludlowe Middle School made the rounds the weekend after the storm to deliver free pizzas and cookies to crews working to repair storm damage from United Illuminating and the town's Department of Public Works.
Samantha Martin, 13, an eighth-grader at Ludlowe who was one of the four girls who delivered the treats, said workers repairing electrical lines or clearing tree limbs initially didn't believe the pizzas and cookies were gifts. "At first they didn't believe us. They were like, `What is this? How much do I have to pay?' "
The workers' moods quickly changed after the Girl Scouts convinced them there was no charge for the pizzas and cookies, Samantha said. "They were so happy. They were like `Oh my gosh,' and they were sharing," she recalled. "Some were just smiling and eating. They were really grateful and just kept saying how grateful they were."
The Girl Scouts had sold cookies at Super Stop & Shop on Villa Avenue on the Saturday after Sandy, and then went to lunch at Pizza Post on Tunxis Hill Road, where they got the idea to buy pizzas for police officers, firefighters, UI crews, DPW crews, and members of the Army National Guard, said Tammy Martin, Samantha's mother and the leader of Girl Scout Troop 33038 at Ludlowe. The girls used money they had made selling cookies at Super Stop & Shop to buy seven pizzas at Pizza Post and they also handed out eight cases of cookies, which had 12 boxes to a case, Martin said.
Martin, who drove the girls on their goodwill mission, said they worked their way down side streets from Pizza Post to the center of town, where they planned to deliver cookies to police officers at Police Department headquarters. She and Samantha said they made about five stops along the way. "Our very last stop was utility workers on North Benson (Road)," Martin said.
Gabriella Petrone, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Ludlowe who was among the Girl Scouts bearing gifts, said she felt bad that some people were angry at crews working to get Fairfield on its feet following the hurricane.
"It was unfair because they were working through the night and working through rain for us to have power," she said. "It takes a while to give power back, and they're staying up late for us so I didn't think that was fair."
"It made me feel really good inside to be giving back to them after they spent all that time," Gabriella added.
Lindsay Stewart, another of the Girl Scouts who made the goodwill trip, said she was nervous when she walked up to the first road crew but felt good after she saw them smiling.
"It made me really happy and I wanted to go around and give everyone free cookies because they were helping the town," she said.
Samantha and Gabriella said they didn't have power for about two days at their homes and Lindsay said her family had a generator that provided electricity until UI could restore power.
Madison Platow, a Girl Scout whose home also lost power for about two days, said she felt "really happy and proud of what we were doing because I knew we were doing a good thing and I was bringing joy to people and bringing smiles to other people's faces."
The girls gave cookies to firefighters outside Super Stop & Shop on Villa Avenue and gave cookies to police officers at police headquarters, Martin said.
Michael A. West Jr., a UI spokesman, was impressed by the girls' kindness and said such acts of kindness helped to combat occasional instances of impatience and anger. "That shows the character of most of the people in Connecticut," he said. "We couldn't be more pleased with these kinds of responses. The willingness to give and understand is something we can all learn from, no matter what our age."
West said nobody wanted power restored more than UI and that instances of kindness and understanding motivate the crews and people working inside.
Joseph Michelangelo, director of the Department of Public Works, said he had heard about the Girl Scouts goodwill mission and that it was one of many examples of kindness from Fairfield residents in the aftermath of the storm.
"I think it's a great thing," he said. "It was good for the morale of the guys doing the work."
Martin said she thought both the Girl Scouts and workers gained something from the goodwill mission. "I think everyone walked away with something after that," she said.
"Girl Scouts traditionally help out the community, and we just had to find our niche."