Singing and Selling and Saving-the-World Cindy Tiede Dan Petersen had just arrived home for a two-week break from summer sales when Cindy Tiede knocked at his door. Dan invited her in to rest, reenergize, and talk before she had gotten too far into her usual pitch about pastries and Ohio. The two soon found out that they had more in common than ignoring “No Soliciting” signs and selling door-to-door. They both had a mission. Dan, who had lost his brother-in-law in a caving accident, was a month away from a bike trip across America. The trip would raise funds to benefit widows who, like his own sister, had experienced the emotional and financial stretch of death. Cindy, a 44-year-old mother of five, had lost her first husband to divorce. She was raising funds so that she could drive to Ohio, pick up her kids, and drive back. But as soon as she had heard Dan’s story, Cindy promised to contribute her time and efforts. Dan and his cousin were skeptical. “We liked Cindy, but we didn’t actually believe she was going to do that,” Dan said. About a week-and-a-half into their trip, Dan and his bike team, the Nutty Putty Cyclers, pulled into a parking lot for a break. Team member Jonathan Miller pulled out his i-Phone, and the group “died laughing” when they saw the newest media link on their webpage. It was Cindy’s interview with KSTAR Radio, urging people to support the group by donating and providing lodging. Cindy passed out hundreds of flyers and talked up the Cyclers’ cause every day for three months—the amount of time the Cyclers spent biking across America and back. “I thought, […] I can’t really give them a lot of money, but I have the time, and I’m out doing this anyway, talking to hundreds of people a week,” Cindy said.
What Dan and his teammates didn’t know was that Cindy is out to save the world, and helping the Nutty Putty Cyclers was just one of the many ways she has reached out to others. “My time isn’t so valuable to me that I can’t share it and do something for others,” Cindy said. Some may recognize Cindy as the lady selling baked goods door-to-door and toting a container with a picture of her kids on the front. In January, a family home evening group hears a knock at the door. Everyone yells, “Come in!” In walks Cindy with bags of baked goods. After perkily pleading her cause, the room is quiet. A few pipe up and give some money: spare change, five dollars, whatever they can give. After Cindy leaves, one roommate, Jacqueline Hsu, tells about how she met Cindy at a friend’s house. At that time, Cindy was raising money to pay for a car wreck. “I don’t know if she’s just really unfortunate or…,” Jacqueline begins. Or if she’s a con artist, the other roommate mentally fills in and begins to worry about the check she wrote. However, a Google search reveals no dirt on Cindy, but a story about a hard-working woman trying to make ends meet and doing whatever it takes to keep her family intact. Dan, who has garnered his own share of criticism as a salesman, agrees that Cindy has probably gotten her share of flak. “Any time a person is willing to stick their neck out there and make an effort to do something that is unusual or unexpected, there’s always going to be someone that’s going to try and cut them down,” Dan says. “There’s always going to be a critic.” Although people may be initially skeptical of Cindy, she shrugs it off. “Somebody is going to help us somewhere,” she says. One week some years ago, Cindy’s son left on his mission, her second husband lost his job, and her kids decided to stay with her ex-husband in Ohio. All in one week.
In Logan, Cindy had taught piano lessons but gave up teaching to spend more time with her kids after her divorce. Now that she lived in Orem, she needed to find a way to make ends meet. Cindy became the breadwinner of the family—literally. Her solution was to make bread and sell it. “I’ve always been taught to work really hard, to do your part, and to be self-sufficient,” Cindy said. She sold bread door-to-door to fund her son’s mission. She managed to support her family and pay for half of his mission. These days, Cindy sings in nursing homes (where she is sometimes paid and sometimes not), in restaurants, and at weddings. When she isn’t working for herself, Cindy is always working to help someone else: the public schools, the women’s shelter, Utah citizens, the Nutty Putty Cyclers. She has talked to the mayor, gathered signatures for petitions, sung to nursing home residents, talked on the radio, interviewed with the Daily Herald, and collected donations, working simultaneously to pay for trips to Ohio, automobile expenses, surgeries, and more. “Yeah, I do a lot: singing and selling and saving the world…,” Cindy says with a laugh. Cindy insists that anyone can do what she does. “One person really does make a difference for good,” Cindy says. “We can’t be afraid and say somebody else will do it, because somebody isn’t doing it as often as we think they are.” “As long as there’s motivation like Cindy has, a single person can have a huge impact,” Dan says. Cindy admits that working every day can be tiring. She even needed foot surgery after selling door to door during her son’s mission. However, Cindy’s efforts are not for a limited time only. “I’m going to do this until the day I die, because there is so much need,” she said. So when a perky woman with a bigger-than-life smile knocks on your door and talks about her latest fund-raising efforts, try saying, “Hi, Cindy. How are you? Let me see what I can do for you.”
You just might help her save the world.