Cookies Said to Yield 'Horrible Experience'

Feb. 12, 2005 — -- The Colorado woman who sued two girls after they made an anonymous, nighttime cookie delivery said she and her family have been the target of hate mail, harassing phone calls and even death threats.

"This isn't about cookies," Renea Young told "Good Morning America." "It's not about a couple of girls out spreading cheer. It's about a horrible experience for me and my family."

Knock at the Door

It all started last summer when Taylor Ostergaard, now 18, and Lindsey Zellitti, now 19, decided to stay home from a dance in order to surprise their neighbors with an anonymous delivery of homemade cookies.

But Young, 49 -- appearing on "Good Morning America" with her husband, Herb -- said she became so terrified when the girls banged on her door at 10:30 p.m. and ran away that she suffered an anxiety attack that sent her to the hospital the next day. Young sued the girls and was awarded about $900 to recoup her medical bills.

The girls, who appeared on "Good Morning America" last week, said they were just trying to do a good deed. They have received an outpouring of public support and donations to cover their legal bills. A company has even named a "kindness cookie" in their honor.

But Young contends that the teens used "very poor judgment" in not realizing how their behavior could affect others.

Young said her home is in an extremely rural area, and Ostergaard and Zellitti had to climb over two fences, walk through a pasture filled with livestock and crawl across an open ditch to get to her home.

Once there, Young said the girls went to a secluded back door and knocked. She, her elderly mother and teenage daughter were in the basement at the time.

"They banged on the door so hard, we were certain someone was trying to break in," said Young.

Different Accounts

Also at issue in the case is what happened after the cookie delivery.

While the girls and their families said they promptly apologized to Young and offered to pay her medical bills, Young said that is not the case.

She said that the controversy could have been avoided had the girls simply acknowledged their mistake immediately.

"Do you really believe if these people gave me the $890, I would go through the process of going to court to ask for $890?" said Young. "There was never any money presented. I tried four different times to communicate with the Ostergaards, and all four times they had no desire to settle the matter, right up to the time we presented this to court."

'Has to Be Some Accountability'

According to The Associated Press, the parents of one of the teens has filed for a restraining order against Herb Young, accusing him of making harassing phone calls. He admitted calling the Ostergaards once after hearing the teens were talking to the media and at one point said "the gloves were off," the AP reported.

But Herb Young said on "Good Morning America" that the public has misunderstood what his family has gone through.

"People take it upon themselves to judge, and they don't know really the full extent of what happened," he said.

Despite the bitterness surrounding the incident, Renea Young said she would do the same thing again.

"There has to be some accountability, some responsibility taken," she said.

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