By Jonathan McNamara
People were lined up out the door and around the block at the corner of Southern and McClintock Wednesday night, but they weren’t waiting to get into a rock gig. This lengthy queue was composed of hungry customers wanting to nosh on cheap ice cream courtesy of Baskin Robbins’ 31 Cent Scoop Night.
Tempe Baskin Robbins owner Leei Song with two hungry customers at 31 Cent Scoop Night
The one-night event, which takes place at every Baskin Robbins location in the country, benefits firefighters. At a corporate level, Baskin Robbins made a $100,000 dollar donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Locally, firefighters are encouraged to come by Baskin Robbins locations with a boot to accept additional donations from ice cream enthusiasts.
Manning the Tempe location was owner Leei Song and her busy staff of scoopers. Song has owned the shop for 12 years and has been working with local firefighters during this event for the last two.
Lined up and waiting for cream.
Any proof customers needed that their donations were going to a worthy cause was made apparent due to some unfortunate circumstances. A man in line collapsed into a seizure shortly before 10 p.m., directly outside of the Tempe Baskin Robbins location.
Song was quick to call paramedics while the fireman on scene, who seconds ago had been concerned primarily with opening the door for customers and collecting donations, supported the man and tried to elicit a response from him. In no more than two minutes, two fire engines and an ambulance appeared. Paramedics quickly established the man’s condition before loading him into an ambulance and sending him on his way.
Thinking the scene had caused a damper on the event, Song was busily preparing coupons to give to the remaining would-be customers, but they wouldn’t leave without contributing a donation and enjoying a bite or two of ice cream.
Song poked her head back in the shop as her staff busily prepared coupons.
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“They say they want to come in and eat ice cream,” she said. “They don’t want coupons.”
Song reopened the shop and kept it open almost an hour after its normal closing time to accommodate all who waited.
Out of all the flavors scooped and served Wednesday night, Song says she prefers any with the word “chocolate” in the name.
“I eat it six days a week,” she said, “because I don’t work on Sundays.”