Ever think you bought just a few too many boxes of Thin Mints from your neighborhood Girl Scout? You probably haven’t purchased as many as Chad Bulleigh.
The Johnson County orthodontist learned the meaning of a viral craze when a promise he made on Facebook led to him buying 3,144 boxes of cookies with a total price tag of $15,720.
“I didn’t think it would turn into this,” Bulleigh said.
The post from Bulleigh Orthodontics promised that he would buy five boxes from every uniformed Girl Scout who came to the offices, limited to the first 50 troops to schedule visits.
Within four hours, Bulleigh said his staff received calls from 30 troops. There was no requirement for the scouts to be his patients. Bulleigh ended up extending the number of troops to more than 80.
Because he made the offer after cookie orders went in, troops came by to sell the extras they had ordered for cookie booth sales outside grocery stores and other places. This meant that some troops didn’t actually have five boxes to sell for every girl.
Normally, Bulleigh ends up buying 50 to 100 boxes in total from his patients.
“This is mountainous compared to that. … I was stunned. I thought maybe 20 troops. I didn’t know there were that many Girl Scouts out there. They’re strong, and their numbers are great,” he said.
He said that while his wife was surprised at the amount he spent on the cookies, “I’ve done worse things with money… (and) she was behind it all the way.”
Don’t worry — Bulleigh didn’t eat them all himself. He and some of the Girl Scout troops have been distributing the cookies to 38 first responder locations in Johnson County, Bonner Springs and Basehor.
Bulleigh said the idea to donate the cookies came up in a staff meeting.
“I think it was neat for them to be able to meet firefighters face-to-face and thank them in person for what they do,” said Shelley Beck, an adult leader for Troop 3625 from Pawnee Elementary in Overland Park.
Beck’s troop of six sixth-graders sold more than 1,000 boxes this year, 30 of them to Bulleigh.
Each scout who helped deliver cookies to first responders got a Uniform to Uniform badge. Bulleigh said that many of the girls got the chance to tour the fire and police stations while they were there.
“I thought it was, for me, rewarding to go shake their hands and thank them. … Not everybody’s cut out to do that job,” he said.
Because of his involvement in this cookie sale, Bulleigh was invited to attend the Inspire a Girl gold award ceremony put on by the Girls Scout council of northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri, which celebrates girls who have attained the highest possible scouting honor.
Bulleigh hopes to do a similar thing next year, though he’s still thinking about ground rules for it.
“It’s worth doing again. I’m afraid it might lose some luster if we just keep everything the same,” he said. “But I think the foundation is solid.”