The Day a Box of Girl Scout Cookies Saved My Life

A month ago, a box of girl scout cookies saved my life. Syllabus week was officially over and the readings I’d been avoiding were starting to pile up, but thanks to the Bookstore I was still missing textbooks. My knees were decorated in a new patchwork of bruises from my latest series of falls up and down the stairs across campus, and I had a lingering cough from before Winter Break that was somehow getting worse.

“I think you have bronchitis,” my Dad told me on the phone. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The only thing keeping me going was coffee and the occasional swig of Dayquil, and I was on the verge of becoming an addict, but I woke up Saturday morning determined to break the funk. It felt more like October than January, and the rain had cleared to reveal blue sky and a soft breeze—perfect for the day ahead.

Boarding the Chestnut Hill T Stop, more than a few passengers exchanged glances between my friends and I. We had bravely skipped breakfast and our stomachs were empty, audibly emitting loud rumbles and gurgling sounds. Eight stops away. The creaky train inched closer and closer to Cambridge, and with every stop the rumbling seemed to grow louder.

We were on our way to the 10th Taste of Chocolate Festival. Held every year in Brattle Square in Cambridge, local eateries set up booths outside for the public, filling tables with free samples of delicious treats to pass out to hungry connoisseurs.

Festivities began officially at 1, and we still had an hour to spare—we wanted to get there early to secure our place in line.   

Two stops away, a boy and his mom boarded and sat across from us. They were going to the festival too.

“What kind of chocolate do you think they’ll have?” she whispered.

“Hmmm, let me think,” he pondered seriously, taking his time to come up with a list of viable options.

“Hot chocolate, brownies, cookies, macaroons, tiramisu, truffles, cake. Something with Nutella I hope?”

About to open his mouth to resume the second rapid-fire list of potential offerings, the train doors opened. We were there.

Walking out onto the street, our dreams of free chocolate were instantly crushed. A thousand-person line stretching a mile winded down Brattle Street and through the Square. There was no way we were going to make it.

In consolation, my friend offered to get us Starbucks with a gift card she had left over from Christmas. We sulked to the Harvard T Station clutching our overpriced coffees in defeat, stomachs still rumbling. After days of hype, we didn’t get to taste a single piece of chocolate.

Walking down the stairs to the station, all hope was lost, until rounding the corner I spotted a familiar green vest covered in patches.

No way, I thought to myself, this can’t be happening. I whipped around the corner, and there they were. Girl Scouts. Standing confidently behind a table stacked high with pyramids of cookies. A line was already beginning to form, and after we left it had snaked past the ticket machines. But Girl Scouts are efficient, and soon I was face to face with a fourth-grader named Abby.

“Boxes are $5 each,” she said with a smile, “What would you like?”

I reached in my pocket for money, but of course was out of cash.

“Oh you don’t need cash, we take card. Credit or debit?” she said, holding up a scanner.

My mouth dropped open in shock. These girls were legit. I handed Abby my card and walked away with a box of Thin Mints. The next week, I was back in Cambridge, and so was Abby. Every Saturday, the Girl Scouts are there, selling overpriced, addicting, and delicious cookies. I just bought my third box.

Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor