The story won’t spark controversy or make many front pages, but there is some good happening in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the unrest following the police-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Many local businesses in Ferguson were vandalized, looted, and even set on fire as demonstrators took to the streets to protest the shooting. Sadly, innocent business owners have been left to foot the bills. This is where the St. Louis Tea Party realized they could help.

The group spread the word of the “BUYcott” event on Facebook, hoping to get at least 20 people to show up and spend their hard-earned money at local Ferguson businesses on August 21. They apparently ended up with a group of about 40 “(mostly) white people” — and something amazing happened.

BuyCott

Members of St. Louis Tea Party with Dellena, owner of 911 Beauty Salon in Ferguson (Credit: Bill Hennessy/Facebook)

They reportedly targeted small businesses who “were hit hard by violence–violence committed (mostly) by out of town agitators, criminals, vandals, and hooligans.”

Bill Hennessy, one of the tea party members who attended the event, later wrote about his experience in Ferguson and how their presence made residents rethink their preconceived notions of the tea party:

A gentlman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”

“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “we don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”

He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”

In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.

That moment made the whole event worthwhile.

So, why did they do it?

Because, Hennessy writes, “you can’t change the world in your living room.”

(H/T: Tea Party News Network)