After a week of disillusionment, Melinda Shay found hope Friday.

The Scott County High School senior — who was $600 in the hole after someone stole Girl Scout cookie money on Feb. 2 — learned last week that she no longer could sell the cookies at the school.

And then, while she was in class, she was summoned to the front office.

“They didn’t say at first why I was there,” Melinda said Monday.

Then Principal Joe Covington introduced a stranger.

“’This man would like to donate some money to help the Girl Scouts,’” Melinda said she was told.

The man handed her a check for $600 — erasing the debt she and the local Girl Scout Council would have had to make up after the theft. He asked to remain anonymous.

“I couldn’t really process what I felt. I was ecstatic,” Melinda said.

It was a good feeling to have after a week of stress.

Melinda’s plight had begun when a false alarm sounded at the school on Feb. 2, prompting an evacuation in case there was a real fire.

She was in band class and left behind her backpack, in which she had left a pencil pouch containing her cookie-sales cash.

The pouch was gone when the students were cleared to return to their classes.

That was bad. But then, last week, Melinda learned that state law and a local school district policy prevents groups from selling sweets on school property during school hours.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub said the policy is intended to keep students from eating snacks that can reduce their appetites for cafeteria meals that meet nutritional standards.

Melinda said the policy doesn’t bother her now, several days later.

“Girl Scouts have always been innovative. We’ll find other ways and places to sell the cookies,” she said.

But Melinda found something more important than the money.

“It was just good to see there are good people out there,” she said, referring to the anonymous donor.

“It was very overwhelming,” Melinda said.

Dan Adkins can be reached at dadkins@news-graphic.com.