Teens Sued for Cookie Delivery to Neighbor

ByABC News via logo

Feb. 5, 2004 — -- A pair of Colorado teens surprised a neighbor by baking cookies -- no charge.

It cost them $900.

Taylor Ostergaard, 18, and Lindsey Zellitti, 19, decided to stay home from a dance in July in order to surprise their neighbors with an anonymous delivery of homemade cookies.

But one of their neighbors, Wanita Renea Young, 49, became so terrified she suffered an anxiety attack and called the police. Young sued the girls and this week was awarded $900 to recoup her medical bills.

The two teens recounted the incident on "Good Morning America," and said that though they were disappointed by the judge's decision, they weren't angry and would continue to do good deeds.

After finishing farm chores for the evening, Ostergaard asked her father if she and Zellitti could bake cookies and deliver them to a few neighbors in rural Durango.

"We think outside the box a little more than usual," said Zellitti. "We just wanted to do something nice for other people, [to] let them know other people care about them even though they didn't know who it was."

The girls knocked on the doors only of homes with lights on, left the cookies on the porch and ran away, wanting to keep their good deed anonymous. The packages included heart-shaped cards that read: "Have a great night. From the T and L Club."

Around 10:30 p.m., they knocked on Young's door. Young, whose home had reportedly been burglarized before, became frightened and called the police. The police determined no crime had been committed. But the next day, Young was admitted to the hospital suffering from an anxiety attack.

Despite receiving a note of apology from the girls and an offer to pay her medical bills, Young ended up suing them. On Thursday, a Durango judge ordered the girls to pay about $900 for Young's medical bills. She was awarded nothing for pain and suffering.

"I know there wasn't any intent to cause harm, but I think that they made some poor choices," Young has said. "I think there should have been some accountability."

Ostergaard said they never would have delivered the cookies to Young had they known about her past problems.

"We had no idea about the burglars," she said. "We felt so horrible when we found out that we had caused someone harm or made them feel upset."

The girls said they were surprised but still respected the judge's decision.

"It kind of startled us because we were trying to do something nice. It was kind of a blow," said Zellitti.

But now the girls are getting support from all over the country, including monetary contributions to pay their fine.

"America's been wonderful," said Zellitti. "They're just supporting us, making us feel so much better about this."

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