In suburban isolation, ‘cookie lady’ built community at the school bus stop

Anne Tabat of Chanhassen holds the now-empty cookie basket which once was her weapon for getting neighbors to know each other.  Bob Collins / MPR News

On the day Anne Tabat was born, her grandmother gave her a cookie recipe book. She’s been “the cookie lady” ever since.

“Cookies are destiny,” she says.

Every Friday, she’s met the school bus in her Chanhassen subdivision, with the notion of thanking the bus driver for his efforts. She came bearing cookies because, she notes, you can’t just give a bus driver a cookie and ignore the kids. She’s been at the bus stop every Friday ever since — 15 school years.

Tomorrow will be the first day without cookies.

The cookie lady has been shut down. Somebody blew the whistle on her.

“I think it’s somebody who just didn’t bother to get to know me and I think that’s what the sin is here,” she said.

It’s also the irony. Anne Tabat uses flour power to break down the walls that separate people.

“I didn’t live in the suburbs until I turned 40,” she told me yesterday, while baking some of the 200 dozen cookies she’ll need for her family’s annual cookie party for anyone who wants to show up.

“Look at the way these houses are designed here,” she said. “They’re not designed with a friendly neighborliness community in mind. I haven’t been in most of the houses in my neighborhood. People live such busy lives; you don’t talk to your neighbors, you don’t know your neighbors.”

You can break down a lot of walls with a good cookie, however, and when she started showing up at the bus stop years ago, a lot of them tumbled, although Tabat dismisses the obvious nobility and eschews the image that comes with being known as the cookie lady.

“I’m not a particularly good mom,” she jokes. “I knew my kids would grow up and blow the secret one day, but I figured if I established myself as sweet old cookie lady, nobody would believe them. It started as an attempt to discredit my children long before their teenage years.”

Last Friday, when the bus pulled up and Tabat approached with cookies, the bus driver sheepishly said the kids can no longer have a cookie. And he rejected one too, if the kids couldn’t have one.

It’s not the end she’d envisioned, but she knew that someday, someone would complain and that would be that. She’d announce, “Sorry kids. It’s been a fun run but have one last cookie. Bye, good luck, maybe you’ll all become cookie ladies one day.”

But an attempt to get people to know each other ended because an anonymous person didn’t.

“This was meant to get to know the bus drivers and thank them for transporting our kids to and from school,” she said. “I know the bus driver. She (the woman who complained) didn’t bother to know me, the bus driver, or anything about the cookie-bus thing. I don’t care if I get shut down, the kids are going to live.”

And, truth be told, the tradition was going to end soon anyway. The last of her three kids will graduate high school soon and the cookie lady wants to go back to work. She was an advertising executive.

It’s the bigger picture that gnaws at her: We don’t get to know each other.

“I woke up the day after this and thought ‘let’s have a protest, let’s sign a petition,’ but the person this would fall back on would be the bus driver. Whatever you do I don’t want anything to stick to the bus driver because this was meant to thank the bus driver.”

She understands the school system had to shut her down, and the woman from school who called her Monday to tell her wasn’t thrilled about having to do it, either. Tabat doesn’t dismiss the obvious concerns about food allergies some parent may have had.

“I know all these well-meaning people who do kindly gestures but they backfire because they’re not thinking about things like that. That’s not what this is about,” she said, noting she’d honor the parent’s concerns if she knew what they were. “I never really got a straight answer. One parent complained and the school district has to be responsive to that.”

Giving away cookies isn’t at all about cookies. Because of the cookies, she’s been able to maintain some small-town ideal, even if it’s just knowing someone’s mother died, or someone has an anxiety disorder or is autistic, for example.

Her kitchen wall features pictures of cookie recipients past. She’s been to bridal showers of young women who once rode a bus. She gives them cookie-making equipment and a recipe book. When a nearby home was put up for sale recently, the Realtor listing noted its square footage, number of bathrooms and bedrooms and, of course, its proximity to the cookie lady.

In the meantime, Tabat is still baking so that people who show up on Saturday — many of whom won’t know each other — will have something immediately in common until they realize they have more.

Every year, the invitations are elaborately themed. This year’s theme is Dr. Seuss. “We wanted to have a Kardashian theme,” she said, “but we just couldn’t make it work. And my husband wanted to be Bruce Jenner in the worst way.”

Some of her neighbors, she says, are more upset about the cookie-bus indignity than she is. “I kept saying if you’re going to do something about this, go out and thank your bus driver. Get to know people, not just your neighbors. Get to know everyone on the planet you’re rubbing shoulders with. There are so many people doing things to make your life better, and they never get thanked for it.”

“People are good,” she says. “I’ve yet to find someone I can’t find commonality with. We’re all crawling around on the planet dealing with circumstances in our life, and most of us just want to raise a nice family and be successful in however you define success and for most people it’s just surviving.”

You can take away cookies for the schoolchildren of Chanhassen. But the cookie lady survives.

Do you know of someone we all should meet? Who’s the most interesting person you know? Submit their name and tell me why. See more installments in this series.

  • I feel so conflicted about this. I want to be more like the cookie lady, but I’d rather sit on Twitter and read blog posts about people like the cookie lady. I don’t know many of my neighbors … I think it’s because I hate the awkward small talk that precedes finding commonality. Maybe I can substitute that small talk for a cookie.

    • These four complete sentences are longer than any conversation I’ve had with a neighbor in the past three months.

      • I was just sharing with Anne yesterday that in my neighborhood, we used to know everyone, mostly because having kids makes you know everyone — the schools do that. But once my kids grew up and families moved away and other ones moved in (I’m a firmly believer in roots, myself), we no longer had that mechanism. Sure, we COULD make cookies and ring a doorbell, but we didn’t. We’d wave sometimes, but a lot of them never waved back.

        Last week, I used another method… snowblowing their driveway — the day when if you didn’t clean up the slop by 2pm, it’d be there until spring– and who gets home from work by 2pm (I was off).

        Of the six houses whose driveways I cleared, I got a ‘thank you’ from two of them — and that was only because the person was out there shoveling at the time. I couldn’t tell you either of their names.

        In fact, the only way I even know the last name of some of my neighbors, is because their wireless router shows up in my list of available networks.

        • in the past couple weeks, we’ve had several packages misdelivered to our address and we have gone out to give the packages to their rightful recipients.

          We have yet to have someone answer their door after ringing their doorbell or knocking and they are very obviously home.

          I guess we are as guilty as anyone for not really knowing our neighbors very well.

          • Aye, I think this contributes to the problem. Maybe it’s a lil’ Minnesotan of me, but I don’t reach out to my neighbors unless I need to because I figure I’ll just be inconveniencing them like I would feel inconvenienced if a stranger came to my house to shoot the sh*t during my free time.

            I value my free time a lot more than I used to because it seems so fleeting. But if I cut the time I waste on social media out of my day, I’d probably be bored enough to shuffle around the neighborhood and search for small talk.

          • Ashley

            Scott, I agree with you. When I’m home during the day, I’m feverishly working. I happen to be in my mid-thirties. The people who have done the “drop-by” in my neighborhood have always been the retired folks. There have been a couple I’ve really enjoyed speaking with, but for the most part, I’m so desperate to get my work done before the kids are home from school that I find myself eager to get back to my office.

          • Ashley

            Ugh, I feel awful that I am the kind of person who doesn’t answer the doorbell when I’m not expecting someone. I usually hear it in my office down in the basement, but I assume it’s someone trying to sell me windows or otherwise soliciting. Because I am absolutely helpless in such situations and end up buying things I don’t need, I just don’t answer the door. I am ashamed that I am a bad neighbor.

        • Garrison had a bit about snow-blowing your neighbor’s driveway in his Lake Wobegon monologue two weeks ago.

          • Cookie Lady

            oddly enough, I have a connection to Garrison through my brother. If you start doing things like this you find out how small the world s. That six degrees of separation thing.

        • babette

          That is so damn sad. We have such a problem of nonexistent community in this country.

        • Cookie Lady’s Brother

          Speaking of shoveling…
          Paul Molitor used to live in Anne’s neighborhood. One day he came by and shoveled the snow in her driveway. She said to him ‘Wow, it isn’t everyone who has their drive shoveled by a Hall of Fame baseball player!” He replied “It isn’t everyone who gets to live next door to the Cookie Lady.”

  • Ma Barker

    Regardless of knowing thy neighbor or not (I don’t) I don’t make a point of distrusting them for no good reason. I wonder what type of grinch through sand in the gears of such a wonderful operation as the Cookie Lady had going. In my opinion, this is a person with Pathology. I don’t think I would want to know that person, frankly.

    • Carrie Wallace David

      Oh, I don’t know, I’m a parent of a kid with food allergies and I’m pretty nice. I’d like to think you’d like to know me. But I feel pretty strongly about no cookies on the bus.

      • nimh

        Isn’t it rather up to the parent to make sure their allergic kid knows that under no circumstances he is to eat a cookie because he will be very sick, rather than up to all the other kids in the school not to have any cookies anymore either? I mean, as a gesture of solidarity it would be nice, but as a policing measure to deny everyone the community pleasure it seems rather grinchy.

        I mean, how was this done in the past? Not just in the fifteen years of this lady’s cookie run, but further in the past when this kind of community gesture was more common?

        • Carrie Wallace David

          Yes of course my kid knows not to eat the cookie. This is something we live with *every day*. But kids make dangerous mistakes. They’re kids.

          And even if they make the right decision and don’t eat the cookie that the 50 kids around them get to eat, they get left out. The people in our family’s community who care about us and want to be a part of our lives *always* include my son in treats, they have treats for everyone. I am often touched by how thoughtful people are, actually. And I do hope you know that I see the good intentions behind Mrs. Tabat’s cookies. But. No cookies on the bus.

          • Ashley

            I think Cookie Lady is awesome, but I have to agree with Carrie here. There are too many kids with truly life-threatening allergies, and asking them to be odd man out every single Friday seems cruel. Also, I was taught as a child, and I teach my parents, that we never take food from a stranger without our parent’s permission. I doubt every parent of every child on that bus even knew about the cookie thing. I think her gesture is incredibly sweet, but if it was truly for the bus driver, she could have packaged up the cookies in a container and handed it to the bus driver every Friday.

          • Ashley

            Ha! That should read teach my children. I guess I still think I can teach my parents a thing or do. Not likely!

          • Ann

            Glad you spoke up. There are lots of ways to be kind without endangering the lives of children who have life threatening food allergies. Aside from that, she puts the school district in a position of possibly violating legal contracts called 504 plans that many food allergy families have for accommodations. If a child were to eat a cookie and die while on the school bus, there would be serious consequences for the district, the school bus driver and sadly the kids who witnessed their friend die. Obviously, that would not be her intention but, with nearly 13% of children now having life threatening food allergies, the potential for a child dying is very real. Most schools also have policies that restrict any food from being allowed on a school bus. It also undermines parents choice. Maybe they don’t want their child having a cookie before dinner or maybe they have prepared a special last day of school treat. Good intentions should also be well planned out and approved. Most any parent with a child in school these days knows quite well about policies regarding food in schools.

          • Carrie Wallace David

            I *never* participate in online threads, but this is important. Thanks for your support.

          • two cents

            I totally understand, as I have a sister and niece with food allergies, but the Cookie Lady also made the statement that she would have worked with any allergy – had anyone told her of one. I think the bigger point to this story is that people simply complain and put a stop to something rather than try to explain and work together. If a child has an allergy, and the Cookie Lady made a special cookie just for that child, that child would have felt just the opposite of excluded and would have felt truly included, and that would have been a lovely example of people working together for all of those children to have seen. I’m going to follow the Cookie Lady’s example of trying to find ways of working with each other instead of finding all the excuses to keep saying no to each other.

          • Jen

            I’m always curious as to how parents of kids with food allergies handle school or lunch. Where I live most schools aren’t allergen free so cookie on the bus cookie at lunch cookie in the classroom. How as a family do you address that?

          • Carrie Wallace David

            Thanks for asking! He brown bags it. The school is REALLY accommodating & they do send me a menu every month of the school lunch and I have an ingredient list I can consult. It’s a lot of work though, I’m an allergy mom, but kind of a lazy one. 😉 I’d rather just pack him something. The Food Service Coordinator at the school is an excellent communicator, she emails me often and I’ve come to think of her as a friend, I always stop and visit with her when I’m at the school. If I hear from her one of these days that my son is asking for the school lunch, he can do that, they will have something for him there, they are amazing.

            His teacher too, always asks what he would like if she’s planning something for the kids (she has food allergies too, funny enough), she just did that the other day. His specific allergies are to eggs and milk. He can still have some processed junk food: Oreos and Nutter Butters (peanuts not his issue), many others too. I also have recipes I make from scratch, eggless cookies and cake.

            Also worth mentioning in terms of snacks at school: Minneapolis schools, all of them, are getting pretty good about healthy snacks, every time I’ve been there the kids get fruit and/or vegetables. They’re getting smarter/healthier. A lot of kids probably don’t get enough produce at home, but that’s another blog post. 😉

          • Legolas

            Rather than for all the other kids to do without, you could also have your child bring his own cookie just like he would bring his own lunch if he were in a similar situation. It is most unfortunate that people feel the need to force others to have to accommodate them rather than deal with and take responsibility for their own situation. When your child is at school he still has to be with all the other kids who are doing things he cannot. It will be that way his whole life. Forcing others to not experience the kindness of this lady just because a parent is upset by either the fact their child may do without or that they are worried that somebody is in danger because of a cookie is absurd. This is the life of children with allergies, not just food. They have to be aware and the parents have to teach them. Making the school and the transportation department aware is also the responsibility of the parent. A very simple and fair way to handle this situation would have been to inform the bus that her child could not participate for whatever reason and then ask that accommodations be made to include said child. However, we do not know that it was a child with food allergies that was the cause of a parent complaining. It very well could be one of those parents who do not believe children should be eating sweets. They are out there as well. So basically it is one parent forcing their desires upon the rest of the children on the bus.
            My second child was born deaf. He has had to take a bit of a different path while in school, than the rest of the children. Do I wish it would have been different, sure. There are many things he did not experience the same way the other children could. When films were watched in class, or at the school, he would not hear them. So we would seek out any way possible for him to also be able to experience said event. It never occurred to me to put a stop to the event because he had to sit there and not hear like all the other kids. When they go on field trips it is always much more dangerous for him than the other kids. But I would never think of complaining to try and stop the school from having field trips because it was not safe enough for him. I knew what I had to do to make sure he was safe and we did it. It is our life, it is his life. Of course we ask the schools to do as much as they possibly can to accommodate him. But never would we ask them to take away from the other students just because he might not feel included. However, intrusive parents being what they are will always find a way to try and control everybody else if they don’t like the situation. Everyday my son would ride the bus we signed I love you to him as he sat on the bus watching us as the bus would leave. He loved that and would always happily sign back and wave good bye. Guess what, an anonymous parent complained about it. The complaint? That there may be children on the bus who were hurt their parents did not do the same thing. The idiocy in the country is simply astounding.

          • Carrie Wallace David

            Yep, we have that conversation all the time: you have allergies, your brother gets ear infections, daddy wears glasses, some grandmas at church use walkers, everyone’s got their own thing. I’m not going to offer much else here in the way of a counterpoint because I feel like I’ve already done that in other comments and I don’t have anything new to say.

            Sorry about your son. What do you or the school do for him on field trips? Are you ever able to go with him? I’ll bet he has caring people at his school and in his life looking out for him. I hope he does, we all gotta look out for one another in this life.

            I sign “I love you” to my son when he gets on the bus too. 🙂

          • Jen

            Oh ok. That makes sense and that’s awesome that the school is so involved. We don’t have any kids so we aren’t overly familiar with how it works. My friends who have kids have never really discussed the allergen issue. When I asked her about it last night she said the teachers have EpiPens for the kids but that the kids are responsible for knowing what they can and can’t eat and that parents have to mark what ingredients are in their food on food days but they don’t do more than that.

  • BJ

    This had me rolling:
    “I’m not a particularly good mom,” she jokes. “I knew my kids would grow up and blow the secret one day, but I figured if I established myself as sweet old cookie lady, nobody would believe them. It started as an attempt to discredit my children long before their teenage years.”

  • DanaD

    My neighborhood version of the Cookie Lady organizes a weekly potluck that has been going on for a decade. I’ve been going almost every week for three years. Once a week we gather in someone’s house and share food. It is so simple, but the act of being in someone’s home and breaking bread is incredibly powerful. There are no rules or guidelines about what to bring – whether it is an amazing caserole or a bag of chips from the gas station, everyone is welcome. Everyone gets a pass occaisionally if life is too complicated to even get a bag of chips. Everyone is welcome and our Cookie Lady invites everyone she meets in the neighborhood. We’ve had regular attendees from the Korean grocery store that didn’t speak English, the pastor of a church up the block that none of us belong to, mail carriers who deliver to our houses, and some college students that I suspect mainly came for the beer. We have four families that make up the core, but many more that attend when they can or attended for a few months and fell away. Thanks to this group I consider my neighbors some of my best friends, we never lack for a cat-sitter or help shoveling the walk, we watch out for the elderly woman who lives independently, and share baby-sitting.
    There is no magic secret to make this happen. Welcome everyone, have some core and committed people, keep it simple. Community happens when we take the time and it really doesn’t take much time.
    I am so fortunate to have taken the time. Tonight I get to have friends and strangers at my table to share food and, special for tonight, to sing carols and play the piano.

  • Dave

    There are a few families with kids in my neighborhood too, but everyone is still completely anti-social. My daughter doesn’t play with any of them. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who often gets no response to a friendly wave.

    We have become quasi-semi-acquaintances with one family whose daughter has twice babysat for us. They’re nice and we appreciate having them close on the bi-yearly occasion that we need them. Funny thing happened once. The dad blew the snow out of our driveway a couple days after we moved in. It was so thoughtful, so we baked them some cookies, gave them $10, and a thank-you note, the implication being, “Keep clearing our driveway and there’s more where that (the cookies and the money) came from.”

    That was the last time he cleared our driveway. Says a lot, doesn’t it?

    • shorelines

      Unless your neighbor is in the snow removal business – and even if he is – you probably insulted him by giving him money for his neighborly act of kindness. Beyond that – what neighbor wants to feel obliged to shovel everyone on the block out every time it snows? He did a nice thing for your once – feel grateful!

      • pamb

        A neighbor saw my husband’s car struggling (4 times!) to get up our driveway and plowed it for us. My husband gave him a six pack of beer. I really don’t think anyone would be insulted by a thank you gift. The money may have put them off a bit, but really, I’ve found many people here are quick to be insulted by anything ‘different’.

        • shorelines

          I think a small gift and a card are absolutely appropriate, But money – to me anyway – crosses a line.

          • aaaa

            For me too. I would not mind small gift, but I would be uncomfortable with money. Especially if they would be accompanied with almost job offer letter.

      • Dave

        Presumably you missed the part where I said, “we baked them some cookies, gave them $10, and a thank-you note.”

        You’re right. I should have been more grateful.

        • shorelines

          I did see that part. But you said you you offered what you did in the hopes that the neighbor would continue to clear your driveway – not out of pure gratitude for the one time that he did. You also wrote that the neighbor no longer clears your drive and you think that says something – presumably negative – about him.

          • Dave

            I think the point of the cookie lady story, as I see it, is playing out right here. No good deed goes unpunished.

          • Kay

            We don’t help our neighbors for money, we do it to be neighborly. You’re right, our good deed would be punished if the neighbor felt obliged enough to give us money, it would be an insult. The polite, neighborly response would be to say thanks, cookies are nice, but no money. You created an awkward situation with that neighbor so he dropped the whole thing.

          • dontspammebro

            I don’t think anyone’s ‘punishing’ you, just pointing out where you may have gone astray. Personally, if I were your neighbor, I would’ve started a fun game of trying to surreptitiously return the $10.

          • “I would’ve started a fun game of trying to surreptitiously return the $10.”

            Heh, i always like those games.

          • Ashley

            Aaaaand this is why I hesitate to engage my neighbors.

    • aaaa

      If he cleared your driveway out of friendliness and good hearth, he might have been offended or at least uncomfortable with your implication and money. He did not done what he did to get extra job, but your money and letter sort of spoiled it.

      Any subsequent snow shoveling would be a job for money, not about friendliness. So, he is unlikely to do it unless he looks for such job.

    • SRK

      Please don’t take this wrong, but if I were your neighbor, I would be insulted. He cleared your driveway out of the kindness of his heart, not because he was expecting compensation. The money made it awkward. The cookies and a heartfelt thanks alone would’ve sufficed.

      • Legolas

        Why be insulted by the offer? Simply say, “no payment is necessary. I did this to help you out. Pass it on.” Being insulted is petty and would show a great character flaw on the part of the person who did the deed to begin with. By being insulted it shows the person did have expectations to make themselves feel a certain way until somebody spoiled it for them. If it truly were about just giving and helping out, the offer of a payment would not offend in any way at all. I help my neighbor across the street all the time. Her husband left her and she needed help afterwards for certain things. The first time I helped her she offered me payment. I politely declined and told her that payment was not necessary and would not be accepted. I told her that I did it because she needed help and I cared. One day she will have the opportunity to help somebody else out. It never occurred to me to be insulted as the help I gave her was not about me and how I felt.

  • Kassie

    When I lived in South Minneapolis I’d get a housewarming gift whenever anyone moved in our little neighborhood. We had an HOA of 9 19th century townhomes. I knew all my neighbors.

    Last month I moved into a rental house in a Saint Paul neighborhood and not one person has introduced themselves. Maybe because it is a rental (with not great history) and they assume we will just leave. Maybe the neighbors rent too. I should make some cookies and go over and introduce myself I guess…

  • wendywulff

    Ah, the myth of the isolation of the suburbs. When I lived in Mpls I didn’t know any of my neighbors. When I moved to Lakeville, I was determined that I wanted something different. Life is what you make it. If you make the effort to build community in your neighborhood, you will have it. If you don’t, you won’t. It really doesn’t matter where you live. It is about your attitude.

    • It’s really not a city v. suburb equation in this case. It’s a suburb vs. small town equation because she grew up in a small town. And while she acknowledged that there’s a lot of dregs in small town, the reality is is that people in small towns know everyone else and everyone else’s business for better or worse.

      You can be isolated in a city just as easily as you can be isolated in a suburb. But the design of a small town favors a community — good and bad — much more than the design of a city and a suburb.

      • wendywulff

        I have lived in a small town, too. It was very closed off if you weren’t from there.

        • Anne had a true line about small town. It can be the dregs of depression. I also found if a street in town wasn’t named after your family, the cemetery wasn’t filled with your kin, or you weren’t on the volunteer fire department, you were pretty much an outsider. We’re an awfully tribal species.

    • Cookie Lady

      Wendy, I agree with you. When I first started the Cookie Party in Chicago about 30 years ago, I invited the few neighbors I knew. And last year, I was at a high school meeting and looked up was stunned to see my former Chicago neighborand early Cookie Party guest sitting across from me. Part of the reason for establishing friendships is you never know where they will take you.

  • wendywulff

    The complainer is an idiot….

    • Cookie Lady

      And I agree with you there too!

      • Beth Strom-Kidd

        Idiot might not be fair. Small minded? Paranoid? Unable to play well with others? I don’t understand why the specific reason to such a sweet tradition was shared directly with Mrs. Cookie Lady. Are we so afraid to speak with one another? How sad is that.

        • Beth Strom-Kidd

          Make that why it WASN’T directly shared.

  • Keira

    I moved into my SW Minneapolis neighborhood with my 2 kids, forced them outside to play by themselves and low and behold – children came out of the woodwork. Slowly getting to know the parents. However I do know most of the kids – which gets you better gossip in the end. They have no filters. LOL

  • shorelines

    I have no personal knowledge of why the person called to complain about the Friday cookie distribution – but here are my guesses:
    1) It is not ok to offer children in school anything that has not been prepared in a commercial kitchen. The days of mom frosting cupcakes at home for Junior’s class are over. Everything has to be store bought.
    2) Food allergies and sensitivities. Peanuts and gluten are on the verge of making it impossible for all children (allergic or not) to eat in the presence of other children. Imagine the potential chaos of handing out a plateful of toxic tarts to an entire busload of kids without multiple adults cross-referencing the ingredient list against each child’s allergy list.
    3) Sugar – it’s evil.

    • Cookie Lady

      Sadly agree to an extent. But the words “no thank you” are still available to address most situations like that.

      • Juusayin

        That’s the problem. Kids don’t know how to say “no thank you” to cookies, delicious food they’re allergic to or that are forbidden by their family’s religious dietary laws or that everyone else is eating except them.

      • Ashley

        Except that the children who are forced to say no thank you each and every Friday because of an allergy, for example, end their week on a sad note every Friday. A container of cookies slipped to the bus driver would suffice to show your appreciation to the bus driver, if that was the original intent, right? If the complainer was complaining to be a jerk, that’s just wrong. But if it’s a parent with a real concern, I don’t think she or he is an idiot. She or he is doing his job. It would, however, be nice if an explanation had been provided, but perhaps she didn’t even know you–only knew that some lady came on the bus every Friday and offered everyone cookies.

        • Carrie Wallace David

          Yes. Thank you. If it were me, and I knew who was handing out the cookies, I would have a discussion in person, no big deal. I have to discuss my son’s allergies with adults in his life all the time, it’s not uncomfortable or anything, in fact it’s often very touching how much they really do care. But if I didn’t know at which stop the cookies were being handed out, wouldn’t I have to contact the school?

          I’m sorry for the shitty way this all played out for you Mrs. Tabat, I’m sorry you were denied an opportunity to connect, I get that. Thanks Ashley for your understanding.

    • pamb

      If the Cookie Lady’s youngest child is graduating from high school, I’m assuming the bus she’s meeting is a high school one. Those kids are old enough to say no if they don’t want a cookie (although they are probably hungry all day) and if they have allergies, know better by that age not to eat anything unpackaged. I just can’t imagine the phone call: “someone is giving out cookies! How dare they!”. Wow.

      • welltemperedwriter

        This. My boyfriend in high school was deathly allergic to peanuts and had no trouble at all refusing something that might have peanuts in it.

        And “not ok to offer anything” not commercially prepared? How sad is that?

  • Matt

    #2: It’s never the act but the coverup that kills you.

    #5: Real question – is that a joke, farcical video?

    • I think you wanted that posted over on 5×8

  • Cookie Lady Neighbor

    Every Friday, two of my four girls would get off the bus with smiles on their faces and cookies in their hand. They would always share a piece of their cookie with mom, dad, and one of their younger sisters (the other one is too young for the Cookie Lady, but she is already well versed in the legend). It was the signpost of our weekend. Thank you for the memories Cookie Lady!

    • Cookie Lady

      Gosh, thanks!

    • Cookie Lady

      Now that I have met you, thank you again. For everything!

    • Last stop of the bus neighbor

      Yes, same here, my boys would bring half of their cookies to their sister. It was always fun. I’m saddened that this little tradition is over….

  • Erica

    As a kid that grew up in that neighborhood, I always looked forward to my friday cookies! I’m so sad to see the tradition come to an end.

    • Cookie Lady

      Unless you want to continue it Erica….

  • lionwarningcat

    I think we used to be a kinder, gentler America before 24 hour cable and the Internet took over. I’m often told to adjust but I think I like established traditions better than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    We’ve lost those all important “rites of passage” . People like the “cookie lady” give us a sense of security and normalcy which is sorely lacking in today’s global society/marketplace.

    All it takes is one self-righteous parent to demand their rights be honored above everyone else and society slowly erodes into every man for himself.

    The first George Bush had the right idea but it got lost in the pursuit of profits and dividends.

  • SmallTownMom

    We live in a time when baking a cookie and giving it away is an act of defiance and when baking and sharing cupcakes at a school birthday is an act of civil disobedience. I sometime hold my head high and bring a tray of homemade treats to school for my kids with a pounding heart wondering what will happen. Sadly, I’m not kidding. The industrial food system has now taught us to be afraid of anything that is not industrial. While it is this same industrial system that is contributing to the obesity epidemic, we still point a finger to a mom baking cookies because, well sugar is evil, as one of the comments already said.

    • Marianne

      I am astonished at the lack of sympathy for parents of children with severe and life-threatening food allergies. One needn’t build one’s life around another person’s food allergies, but isn’t a child’s health and well-being worth more than your need to show up in a classroom with a homemade treat? I’m completely flummoxed by the anger here, directed toward children who have no way of changing their situation. And I am a parent of children with absolutely no food allergies!

      • babette

        Perhaps we should be investigating more why children are presenting with these severe and life-threatening food allergies. I can’t imagine it was always this way.

  • dpsours

    In my adult life, I’ve lived in the suburbs and I’ve lived in the city. Nowhere have I found a sense of community like I did when my lovely wife and I moved to North St. Paul nine years ago. Several neighbors welcomed us with baked goods. The guy across the street keeps an eye on things and isn’t afraid to get involved when questionable situations arise. He’s also very outgoing and knows everyone. We get together with him and his wife and their next door neighbors several times a year for dinner or a bonfire (it’s North St. Paul). The old lady next door is one of the coolest people you could meet, and has become a dear friend. We keep an eye on her, do her shoveling, and help her run errands, as do other neighbors. She volunteers at the food shelf. The elderly neighbors across the street organize a block party every year and helped get a neighborhood watch program going. They’re always willing to dog-sit, and when they go for their daily walks, he carries a bunch of dog treats in his pocket for the neighborhood dogs. He publishes a newspaper for the Hmong community, and she volunteers at their church to get backpacks to needy kids. There’s a family of seven (plus a dog who’s our dog’s best friend) in a small house down the block. They’re conservative Christians who home-schooled their kids. They are the sweetest, happiest people (and dog) you’d ever want to know, and they are always helping neighbors with shoveling and mowing. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the many wonderful neighbors we’ve come to know and love. We’ve been in their houses many times (including for meals) and vice-versa. Everyone knows what’s going on with everyone else, but it’s based on caring, not gossip. Building a community takes an effort, but it’s not a chore.

  • KTN

    After reading most of the comments here, I fee sad. We live in north Mpls, and we know all our neighbors- both sides of the alley, up and down the street. Not that we are all friends, but we all know names at least, or if not names, faces or cars. We take turns snowblowing the sidewalk, each others driveways sometimes, and of course we wave.
    So about the cookie lady – the nanny society is so out of hand as to be ridiculous. But, good for her and what she did for the kids; I wish she lived in my neighborhood, a cookie after school sounds yummy

  • Dave

    Do we know exactly why someone was a narc? There could be a few reasons, as discussed here in the comments. It could be something relatively benign like a sugar/obesity thing, could be an allergy thing. But when I saw it was Chanhassen, I thought it could be more an attitude thing along the lines of, “This is a normal suburb with normal people; we don’t bake cookies and stand down by the bus stop giving them to strangers.” In other words, don’t be creepy, even when she wasn’t.

    • Suanne Bierman Laqueur

      Sugar, obesity, allergies, whatever…..none of them are reasons to ruin it for everyone. That’s the way of the world now, everyone pays when only a few are affected. We don’t teach our kids to deal and prepare them for the road ahead, we teach them that mommy will always get out ahead and fix the road for them.

  • Suanne Bierman Laqueur

    You’ve been doing this fifteen years with no allergy-related deaths or other adverse effects. And now one person (who doesn’t even have the guts to name themselves) pipes up that SUDDENLY these cookies have become a hazard. Overnight! Amazing. One person against fifteen years of tradition, and the tradition crumbles like a…cookie. I say screw them, show up next week with your plate of cookies, and if this anonymous Dudley Do-Gooder still has a problem, he or she can contact you personally, introduce themselves, and have a civilized conversation about why the needs of her precious snowflake supercede something that’s been working RATHER WELL for fifteen years.

  • I would really appreciate it if we not lose sight of what the post is really about, which is not about cookies per se as what we as individuals do to create community. I think the comments in which people share this are very valuable and insightful and force us to think about ourselves rather than just take up today’s talk radio style cause of the day.

    There’s no argument in this piece that food allergies shouldn’t be respected. There is room for discussion about how we communicate and resolve differences and how we create a community among us. That’s what the piece is about. That’s what the cookies are about.

    • Carrie Wallace David

      Bob, it’s adorable that she wants to get to know her neighbors. I get it! I like to bake too. But as a parent of a child with food allergies, this article and supporting comments are *infuriating*. My kid got off the bus in Kindergarten asking for Benadryl because he’d eaten a muffin on the bus. We were appalled. We scolded him and told him *never* to be so careless. He does not have medication with him on the bus, do you have any idea how scary that was? We educate him to be responsible, but he is a kid and he makes mistakes. He ate the muffin because he wanted to fit in. The kids on Mrs. Tabat’s bus want to all feel included too.

      • I’ve never said otherwise.

        • Suanne Bierman Laqueur

          Article doesn’t quote any of the kids on the bus, just the adults, so who really knows what the youth reaction is to this non-issue. Me, I bet they’re totally bummed and not really sure what freakin’ big deal is about cookies. They’re teenagers, after all…

          • Carrie Wallace David

            The big freaking deal is anaphylaxis.

          • Ashley

            Carrie, I fear Suanne is not going to see it from your perspective. She’s deeply invested in the cookies being part of that bus ride.

          • Suanne Bierman Laqueur

            15 years of handing out cookies and nobody died of anaphylaxis. And the treats weren’t part of the ride, they were passed out at the bus stop. Get off the bus, either take a cookie or say “no thank you” and move on. Worked fine. Lovely woman. What a nice gesture. They were lucky to have her all those years.

          • Carrie Wallace David

            Cookies were on the bus. On the sidewalk’s a different story, you’re absolutely right. But that’s not where they were.

      • nimh

        But it sounds like this bus always had the same driver. Wouldn’t it then just be a question of informing the driver about your kid’s allergy? Or, just reaching out and getting in touch with the cookie lady herself to warn her about this one kid for whom it’s dangerous, instead of filing an anon complaint? Rather than banishing the ‘cookie lady’ everyone’s loved for over a decade?

        Edit: I noticed that somewhere else you complained that your kid is not allowed to take his/her potentially life-saving medicine on the bus. That’s insane too! The idea that, because someone somewhere might abuse it at some point, all children with allergies are forbidden from carrying their life-saving medicine with them is a manifestation of the same regulatory overreach as the idea that nobody should enjoy a cookie lady because there might be someone for whom it’s not good – and of course, a much more dangerous manifestation. As a non-American, I am just stunned.

        • The original bus driver retired some years ago.

        • Carrie Wallace David

          Yes, for sure, if it was me and if I knew who the cookie lady was I would just talk to her. I talk to other adults in my son’s life all the time about his allergies, it’s really not a big deal, and like I’ve said in other comments, I am often really touched by how thoughtful people are. But if I didn’t know who she was I’d have to call the school, right?

          RE: insanity of him not carrying his own meds. I didn’t exactly complain – that part I’m ok with. Kid’s lost like 4 pairs of gloves already this year; he’s 6 years old. Not sure he needs that kind of responsibility. But I appreciate your kindness.

  • Kathy

    I think its sad that (many, but not all) Minnesotans dont get to know one another. I was back home in Chicago over Thanksgiving and pleasantly reminded of HOW MANY strangers, passers by, LOOK at you and smile and say hello. Here in MN, people look at you and snarl or dont say hello, and or then there is an uncomfortable, oh, I caught your eye and it scares me process. Its just so bizarre! I like it here for many reasons, but I have found the people to be very shut our and afraid of one another, like the cookie lady says. We need more cookie ladies here in Minnesota!

    • Cookie Lady

      Kathy, I am a former Chicagoan too and I remember telling Bob that if you don’t think people instinctively want to help, just stand on a street corner in Chicago with an open map and you’ll be accosted by dozens of people wanted to help you find your way. One of my favorite memories of Chicago is being on the El when a rainbow appeared and everyone and I mean EVERYONE on that
      train looked and said “OOOOOOOH!”

      • Cookie Lady

        I love it when people forget to be “cool”.

        • mama468

          You are one my favorite people that I am just getting to know this year.

    • Carrie Wallace David

      I am from Wisconsin and I agree completely. Minnesotans are tough. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m the mom of a kid with food allergies, and I feel pretty strongly about there being no cookies on the bus… but I want you to know that it bothers me, too, that we don’t bother to get to know each other and Minnesotans are *terrible* about this. I’m with you there. And I appreciate your reaching out, I really do, I hope you know that. I *like* cookies. 😉

  • Adam Raymond Ravenhurst

    The school system has the power to shut down giving free food to human beings? It doesn’t mention in the article that I can see, but I don’t understand what law or ordinance or whatever is being broken here, specifically. Maybe it’s none at all and she’s just decided to comply, I don’t know, but I’m curious, I guess.

    • I should have made this part clear and I didn’t. Sorry. The bus itself is an extension of school property. Anyone getting off the bus at that particular stop is free to get a cookie; I don’t believe anyone can interfere with that.

  • rebmafaith

    I know Anne — we used to go to the same church together. She’s a lovely woman — selfless, always looking out for the other person even though she herself has struggled with health issues. We were blessed to have attended her annual Christmas party years ago, and it was a blast! We made some “small-world” connections that day. I have always been blown away by the number of cookies she makes every year at Christmas time. I had never heard she was “The Cookie Lady,” but it doesn’t surprise me. It’s frustrating that yet another person doing a good deed has been made to feel bad and asked to stop doing something that has brought many people a lot of pleasure over the past 15 years! I am also frustrated that this person who complained did so anonymously. Such a passive-aggressive thing to do! If this means so much to you, come on out and publicly stand behind your actions! Explain your reasoning to those of us who have been left scratching our heads. The fact that you’re hiding makes me really questions your motives. And, Anne, I know that you will shake this off and move on to the next great thing. Know that we are all behind you, applauding you for your good deeds and praying that you will find your next place to make a difference.

  • Carrie Wallace David

    Baking cookies is a really sweet thing to do for people. I get it – it’s adorable that she wants to reach out to people in her community. I like to bake too. But this article has me so mad I can hardly see straight. Bob, I listen to you and Mary every day on my ride home from work. Normally I really like what you have to say. But this article is two steps back for kids with food allergies, you are completely disregarding what life is like for them. Kids on the bus are not allowed to carry medication with them. No Benadryl, no epi pen, nothing. If they were to have an allergic reaction on the bus, they are SOL. They do not have meds with them that could save their lives. They are at home and at school, but they are NOT in their backpacks or on the bus. Do you have any idea how frightening that is? Yes, we as parents need to teach them to be responsible (and we do, again and again, you have no idea), but they are kids and they make stupid mistakes. Same as your kids.

    Safety is the main point I feel you are overlooking, but also worth mentioning is that even the responsible kid with food allergies on that bus is getting screwed. “Mrs. Tabat made cookies, but they’re not for *you* Johnny, here, could you pass these back to the other kids, gosh they sure are delicious”. Does that still sound like building community? Excluding kids is not building community.

    Do you remember the kid on your bus who was different from everyone else? Did he get picked on? Did he feel left out? Was he (metaphorically) the only one on a bus of 50 kids not eating cookies? Imagine what that feels like and then tell me again why we need cookies on the bus.

    • Hang on just a second, Carrie. Nowhere in this article, nor on the radio with Mary have I ever said anything against people with food allergies or minimized their reality. That’s not the story I wrote nor the conversation I’ve ever had. That’s for someone else to have. First, we don’t KNOW whether this is a story about food allergies. People are supposing that. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. We don’t know.

      The story I wrote is about (a) people who build community and (b) or willingness to talk out our problems, which, for the record, doesn’t mean those concerns are ignored in a nice sort of way, but often that they are accepted.

      The people here who are talking about the things they do — or don’t do — to create community are the ones for whom the post was written.

      If I had intended to write the “stupid people with food allergies take all the fun out of Christmas for sweet little old cookie lady” cliche nonsense, I could’ve written it. It’s cheap, easy, and a popular story to write. When the TV folks pick up this story, that’s the story they’re going to do.

      That’s not what I do, and I realize the popularity of this story had brought people here who know nothing about NewsCut or the conversations I try to ignite. I write about things in the “news” (or not) that lead us to look inward on larger themes, not to get people to just have yet another daily food fight on the Internet..

      I don’t have a dog in that fight, because — especially if you’re a regular reader of NewsCut — you know that’s an unproductive story for me. That’s just click bait. Of course kids with food allergies shouldn’t have people giving them cookies.

      I just want to make that point clear. I’m not overlooking anything.

      Food safety vs. the cookie lady is a story someone is free to do. It isn’t the story I did.

      Now, then. What are we all doing to build community and work out problems and conflicts with one another?

      I ask because that’s the story I did.

      • mama468

        I’m going to make a hot cocoa stand while in Utah at my sister’s house for Christmas, but it will be free. Thanks for trying to keep us all focused on what you actually intended to convey.

      • Katharine

        Bob, for a journalist who strikes for objectivity, you seem really defensive. Why not just let the comments play out as they will, make your point, and stand back? I’m a journalist myself, so I’m confused by your level of engagement with your own story.

        • This is a blog and a community and I.presume this is your first time here. The blog post is part of a discussion. One part is no more important than the other. Both must meet high standards. Discussions here are informed, intelligent and add value topic. There are plenty of places to go to find free for all foodfights and name calling. This isn’*t one of them, which is why NewsCut has been named best news blog for several years.

          As for objectivity, I’ve written and given many speeches over the years and there’s no reason to disrupt the conversation here by repeating it. You can probably Google it. .Suffice it to say, it’s one of the most fraudulent concepts perpetrated by journalists.

          If you stick around for a few weeks and experience the blog, you’ll get a better sense of what you’ve stumbled on. Because I’m REALLY good at this.

          • “I’m REALLY good at this.”

            …and humble.


      • Cookie Lady

        Ok, I guess I was little naïve about all the controversy this stirred up. The cookies at the bus stop has been a fun little tradition that we have enjoyed but EVERYONE who has weighed in here and EVERYONE in my school district and at the bus stop has is in agreement that their only goal is that the kids arrive home from school safely. As long that happens, no problem. The only kids who are not getting cookies now are the ones still on the bus and have not yet arrived home safely so it in the Nut Allergy Mom’s interest, the bus driver’s interest, my interest and everyone else’s that harm not come to the children until they reach their bus stop and home. The school did not “shut me down”. The anonymous mom did not shut me down. It was necessary to enforce a policy that allowed all kids to get home safely. And, as much as I enjoyed getting to know the kids and the neighbors this was not going to go on forever, I thought this was just a nice little human interest story and as my daughter told me “Frankly Mom you’re just not that interesting.” She’s right. And I apologize for that “idiot” comment. That was uncalled for. Now let’s just be kind and tolerant to the people who cross out paths. I know I have some room for improvement there!

        • Carrie Wallace David

          Thanks cookie lady.

    • Ma Barker

      With all due respect, life isn’t always fair, for anyone. Nor is it equal, but that’s another thing. Your family lives with the burden of food allergies. In my family my middle sister had severe downs and died an early that separated her from a rather mean existence. It’s all relative.

      Life simply is. The smart person figures the best strategies for dealing with the hand they’re dealt and try’s to limit the sturm und drang.

      On a separate note, I’d like to know which bus “marijuana brownie lady” meets…Bob?

      • Guest

        That’s right. I this comment. Don’t be so sure I’m detestable. And I’m really sorry about your sister. Want to meet for a marijuana brownie?

        • Guest

          Oh, wait, that’s Get A Grip that detests me*, never mind. I’m having a hard time keeping up, what with all the helicopter mom busywork I do. Now off to bake some cookies! (Get it, I’m *baking cookies*, it’s a joke.)

          *detests me anonymously, I might add. Irony, much?

  • john87

    Kinda wondering how far the school jurisdiction extends….at the point of drop off maybe, but 10 feet away, across the street…on the opposite corner….just take a few steps away and carry on with your tradition and ignore them

    • Carrie Wallace David

      I’d be cool with that.

  • Karen

    I understand that Anne is trying to be neighborly but I have a child with a life-threatening food allergy and I would not want cookies or any food for that matter passed around on the bus. He is 9 so in general he knows not to take food he doesn’t
    know about but the other kids could get cookie crumbs all over the bus and our busses don’t have Epi-pens, only the actual schools,

  • 4430salton

    excuse me can I have a cookie? Please send the cookie lady to Denver, co Thanks!

  • The Get A Grip comment has been deleted. For the benefit of NewsCut newbies, I have a policy of not allowing commenters to attack the character of other commenters. Otherwise we become another YouTube/Strib-like cesspool of online commenting. That’s not what we’re about and those comments are not welcome here. Thanks for your understanding.

  • Robin

    The school should have told this anonymous complainer to mind her own business! The complainer should be ashamed of themselves. Seriously, this women has done a good deed for 15 YEARS! If I knew the school’s phone # I’d phone them directly myself and tell them so. We need more good in our society than bad. Thanks for ruining it Ms. Complainer. 🙁

  • dr4golf

    My father used to be a bus driver in Chanhassen. He did that after he retired. Once a week, he’d divert the bus to McDonald’s to buy everyone french fries. That lasted for awhile, until some PC mother complained. So sad that these are times in which we live. My Dad is now 92 years old, WW2 vet, and still making kids laugh and see if they can beat his strong handshake!

  • JPeron

    I hope the sour cow who complained gets some coal in her stockings—preferably while wearing them.

  • Publius

    It seems to me that every time somebody shuts down a good thing for most people, they do it anonymously. If there is a good reason not to have cookies on the bus, at least have the decency to approach the lady and explain. A dialogue could lead to a productive solution for everyone. This way is just mean spirited and begs the conclusion that you know what you are doing is mean and you are not too proud of it.

  • Rich B

    and that’s the difference between an administrator and a leader – a leader would have stuck up for the woman considering she’s 15 years into what is now tradition.

    an administrator does what he’s told for fear of standing out …

    this is the leadership shaping the minds of the future

  • Andrea

    I live in a spread out housing addition. I do happen to know my neighbors directly next to me and a couple others, but there are so many I have never met. With that being said, the way to meet your neighbors is not by giving their children sweets while they are not present. Now the kids know who you are, but the parents don’t. You are most likely the most harmless person in that neighborhood, but how would they know, you didn’t go around and bring them cookies every week for many years. I would be very suspicious of an adult becoming so friendly with all the neighborhood kids without their parents present, not to mention my kids would probably be teased every Friday as the others ate their cookies because my daughter is diabetic so as an entire family we avoid sweets.

  • Olivia

    Since this discussion is about communication, let’s look at the situation of the anonymous complainer. For whatever his reason for wanting to stop homemade cookies being distributed to children on a school bus, he probably realizes that his opinion will be unpopular. Sending a letter to the school district seems like a reasonable way to address this problem. The school district can then evaluate his reasons and decide whether or not they are valid. Obviously, the school district sided with the complainer. I don’t feel that people’s wrath should be directed at the complainer. If people disagree with the outcome, they should discuss that with the school district. I understand why the complainer chose to be anonymous. He’s already been called an “idiot” and a “sour cow” among other things in these comments. He probably would be openly ridiculed by his neighbors for having an unpopular opinion and I also think his children would be ridiculed at school. It would be nice to think that everything could be discussed freely in the open without fear of ridicule, but that isn’t reality.

    • What can we as individuals do to make it a reality?

      • Cookie Lady

        Finding commonality. As in: it’s in everyone’s interest that all the kids arrive home safely. Anything that disrupts that needs to be discontinued. So much for that. The other part is just getting know people as in the bit in To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout is drifting off to sleep and talking about some boys in a book she read who were not liked but then kids found out they were really nice. And Atticus replies
        that most people are when you get to know them. Like this blog thread. I find this forum interesting because I like to hear peoples opinions. It’s part of getting to know them. But opinions are not information which is always useful. And the useful party of this discussion is everyone learned more about nut allergies. And what I personally love about life is the irony that this germ of information was delivered because of a misconception that this was all about a child’s allergies which I don’t know if that’s true or not. Doesn’t matter. We all learned something and we all got to know each other better. So it’s all good. Thanks Bob!

        • Carrie Wallace David

          (other common allergies: egg, milk and wheat.)

      • Over to you, Kid President.

  • Old New Mother

    Kids at a bus stop are a captive audience. While Ms. Tabat probably had no ax to grind by doling out cookies, imagine if some other parent started handing out Pro NRA stickers or KKK gummy bears. Some kids are caught in the crosshairs of their parents’ food politics of: Americans having too many sweets, Big Sugar, Wheat Belly, and GMO foods. Some kids are also allergic/religiously intolerant/hyper-active when it comes to consuming other people’s foodstuffs. This is the way of the world.

    • Carrie Wallace David

      laughed at KKK gummy bears.

  • Guest

    I have one more thing to say, and then I’m done, I feel I’ve said my peace on this thread. I would like to discuss my own experience with communication here. Many of the comments directed at me have rather angrily stated that my son’s allergies are our problem that we alone need to take on and that life is hard. I’ve heard many times over “you need to life proof your child”, as if we don’t. People, this is a way of life for us and has been since my son was a baby. We talk about his needing to take responsibility and about how life isn’t fair and about how everyone has his own burdens to bear all. the. time. Many of you all, on the other hand, are just thinking about this issue for the first time today, and you don’t know my family. If you were to know us, you would see that my son is an awesome kid, and that I am not a killjoy or a helicopter mom. I’m an advocate for my child, same as you. Yet my comments here overwhelmingly are receiving “thumbs down” and the ones telling me: “too bad, buck up, it’s your problem” are getting the ::likes::. Many of you are anonymously being quite ugly towards me and other parents like me about something that is very personal and important. Does that sound familiar? Anonymous. And ugly. About something having to do with our children. And is very personal. Ringing a bell yet? Irony much? We’ve talked a lot about the bus stop and community… if instead you were to be at the bus stop standing next to me, might your communication towards me be a little gentler and more empathetic? I hope so. Our family needs the support of other families, and yours does too. Because that’s what it means to build community.

  • mike

    absolutely horrible person that complained. you should be ashamed or yourself! this woman has showed kindness to your kids and neighbors for years! and you ar such a coward that you put in an anonymous complaint. you don’t deserve her cookies or Kindness. Jesus Christ bless the Cookie Queen!

  • in4mation

    I’m not really sure how they can shut her down. Is it unlawful to hand out free cookies on a public sidewalk? What would they charge her with?

    • Handing out cookies to kids getting off the bus or on the sidewalk wasn’t an issue here.

      • in4mation

        How can that not be the issue? I realize you wanted the message of the article to be other than handing out cookies. It’s just too hard to get past the brazen overreach of the school system here.

        • It’s not an issue because the school system doesn’t assert authority of a sidewalk.

  • Rayfrid

    If I was this lady, I would ignor that call about the cease and desist order. First, she was told by phone. Real orders would be delivered to her either in person or by registered mail. Second, she has a constitutional right to face her accusers. The complaintant was annonymous. Definitely ignor this order and keep on baking!

  • jyatt7

    Alway have to have a neighbor “but -in- ski” telling other people what to do. This person needs to mind their own business. If your kid is allergic tell not to eat the cookie – geeez !! Man I am sick of these crybaby liberals !!

    • Funny, I don’t believe the political affiliation of anyone was discussed in the article or in this comment section…

  • KC

    It probably has nothing to do with your friendliness. Who knows, it’s a possibility there are some children that have allergies and can not eat the cookies and feel left out or too young to not know they can NOT eat the cookie. Fact is, as sad as it is, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit if a child was to eat you cookie no matter how good they are. Just consider yourself lucky so far….

  • robert g

    So just where is this bus stop. When I went to school the “bus stop” was just the corner, it was really private property. If it’s on private property the school system has no say. So tell them to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. It’s time to stand up to the PC crowd.

    • Again, this has nothing to do with the bus STOP. It’s about cookies ON THE BUS.

  • Tracy Keeney

    This is so UTTERLY stupid. That ONE person’s whiny complaint gets to override everyone else’s acceptance is so horribly unfair it makes me want to spit.
    Why do school districts do such STUPID things like “shut down the cookie lady” just because one or two people are whiners???
    It’s absolutely infuriating.

  • ernest wilson

    I like what someone said the other day. Winston Churchill
    said a nation with too many laws will be a nation with many law breakers.

  • Judy

    God bless the Cookie Lady and her loving expressions. May we all be more like her

  • John Campbell ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

    Ya know, I spend every morning when I get up and get ready to head to work on comms (Ventrilo) with some people from around the world. Evey night as well before bed. I got started doing this 8 years ago, or so, just playing an online video game called Battlefield 2. I suppose some people won’t be able to figure out how getting together to shoot each other results in a very close friendship with people from all over the U.S. and into Great Britain and beyond, but that’s the way it happened. My wife and daughter join in on the comms as well and we have good time discussing the state of the union, the price of this or that, religion, politics, someones latest addition to their family, who got the latest report card from a school with an “A” on it, the list is endless.

    Keep in mind that I do know my neighbors. I have to. One of them introduced me to my wife and since I’m a very happy, and a very blessed man, she’s never let me forget it!

    The other was a neighbor before I bought this place and I was there when their first baby was born. I built a child size picnic table for the new born, which could also accommodate adults, in my wood shop as a gift for them. She’s now 15 years old and that picnic table still gets plenty of use.

    It’s funny. People sometimes find the darnedest things to blame their woes on. Most times it’s simple grumbling for whatever is going on at the time. Some others though are far more tragic and result literally in world wars where millions die. Simple historical fact. That’s what happens when people look to blame everyone else around them for the problems of the world instead of doing something to fix it or stop it. It allows for those all too willing to step in and fix it with a fix no one wants.

    So how does all this come out of a bunch of guys who got together 8 years ago to go shoot each other in a war themed video game? I’m not really sure, but I suspect it had something to do with one common bond before we got there. I’ll let you folks think on that one for a while. It could have been a cookie.