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Surprise Squad proves there's a free lunch

August 24, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — Imagine how astonished you would be to step up to pay your lunch bill, only to discover someone you’ve never met is buying. 

For several dozen Indiana University Kokomo students, that was reality Wednesday, as the Solidarity Surprise Squad showed up at the Cougar Country Café. For about an hour, the red-shirted squad stood by the cash register, greeting students and paying for their lunches.

“We’re from the Solidarity Surprise Squad, it’s our treat today!” Melanie Humphries announced to the line of students carrying orders of chicken strips, tater tots, soft drinks and more. Diana TenBrook, vice president for marketing at Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union, handed over the squad debit card, starting the giveaway.

Reactions ranged from smiles, cheers, and even a few hugs for team members.

The free lunch was a game-changer for sophomore Bailey Jenkins’ day.

“I’ve been at school since 8 a.m., and I go to work after that, and I forgot to bring breakfast and lunch today,” she said.

She and friend Ashley Collins were studying, rather than eating, in the Kelley Student Center Commons when TenBrook urged them to get up and order lunch.

“It’s pretty great,” Collins said.

Sophomore Durante Lee expected to have a good afternoon after filling up on a wrap sandwich.

“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I definitely will be attentive in class. Around this time of day, I get a little sluggish, but I’ll make it now with some food in my stomach.”

When Whitney Williamson reached the front of the line and learned her lunch was free, she was thrilled.

“I was so happy. It made my day,” she said.

TenBrook said the squad members enjoy the thrill of random acts of kindness.

“We just love to see their reactions,” she said. “It affects us emotionally. It’s just a small gesture of kindness, but we feel like it’s saying thank you to our community for your support.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/24/2017