Prior to the pandemic, many Arizonans were familiar with Derrick Moore, the “Lemonade man” who brought smiles across faces at sporting events and concerts as he would sing out “lemonade, lemonade, like grandma made.” Carrying a large tray, strapped around his body with a harness, Moore would put on quite the performance each night as he climbed up and down hundreds of stairs carrying the mouth-watering lemonade for all to see.
Nearly every time he passed by, it was hard to avoid the temptation of both the idea of the delicious lemonade and getting to interact and share his positive vibes. That’s why he was voted the top MLB Vendor by fans in 2015.
“He helped me get my first job selling lemonade just like him,” said Tyrone Preyer Jr, Moore’s Godson. He continued, “He picked me up every morning and dropped me off every night for drives we made to Tucson, San Diego, Los Angeles and every single spring training game.”
As cancellations and COVID-19 mitigation strategies have been in place for nearly a year, many have been dreaming of the day when venues reopen to fans. As they sit and picture returning to a baseball or football game, they imagine themselves in the stadium, decked out in their gear, next to a friend or loved one. You think of the concessions, the beer, the fun. And at some point, you probably think of Moore.
When the pandemic began, Moore had been working side jobs as a cabinet installer and a caregiver to try to make ends meet. Previously, Moore had been paying for private health insurance coverage for he and his wife Renita, but after falling on hard times, he could no longer afford the monthly payments.
“He’s still been Derrick, he doesn’t complain he just keeps working hard at everything he does,” Preyer said.
Recently, his health has been declining rapidly and doctors are scrambling to find an answer to his medical problems. The currently unknown or undiagnosed medical condition is causing Moore to suffer from an increase in disorientation, accompanied by bouts of extreme sweating and panting. His wife has reported it’s believed to be a neurological problem, but it’s become so severe recently that she’s had to call paramedics for assistance.
This inspired Preyer to start a go fund me to help give back to the man who gave him so much. Preyer said both Derrick and Renita have been there for him since he was a child, and now he hopes to be able to give them the same support since he’s become an adult.
“When I had hard times they’d always be at my house with groceries, and Derrick ready to play Dominoes. They were there for me so when the time came it was a no brainer to return the favor,” Preyer said.
Moore, besides being his Godfather, was one of Preyers’ elementary school teachers and taught him the value of hard work. Their relationship continued to evolve throughout the years as Preyer got older, and Moore continued to guide Preyer and act as a mentor to help him keep moving forward in life.
“He taught me how to save and buy my first car, and was the first to show up at every baby shower and birthday for my kids. He’s been an unwavering father figure in my life, one that always calls just to say hey and grab lunch,” Preyer said.
Throughout the years as he helped Preyer get his first job and learn how to save for his first car, Moore was also helping to pay for his wife’s college education, showing his devotion to helping others was full circle. Now, others are using their voice to help him. That’s why Preyer created a GoFundMe to help with his medical bills.
While they understand that times are tough for people, and not everyone might be able to donate, they hope people will continue to share the word and send prayers as they remain hopeful.
“If you can not give monetarily, give with your kind words and affirmation and let out a loud, “LEMONADE LEMONADE LIKE GRANDMA MADE YUMMY GOOD YEA BABY!!!” because you know you want some,” Preyer said.