An Alabama mother wanted her son to run a lemonade stand to learn a lesson. Oh, did he ever.
Last year, Cristal Johnson told her 7-year-old son Cam that if he wanted to go to Disney World, he could earn some money to help pay for it, according to USA Today.
Enter Cam’s Lemonade. It was a success, so much so that the beverage even made its way to store shelves around Alabama, according to Al.com. This year the stand was back for a second summer.
But then, on June 22, Johnson made a post on Facebook that will live in bureaucratic infamy.
“On July 9th Cam’s Lemonade will employ 2 kids 6-10yrs old. We will open from 2-6, you can drop them off with us at the truck for a 2 hr shift, and pick them up at the end of their shift. I will let them work with Cam on communicating with customers, giving and receiving payments, and good manners. They will each receive $20 at the end of their shift,” she wrote.
“It is my hope to help them build self esteem, help them with counting, speaking like a big kid, following directions, & some good old fun!”
Then she got a call from the state Department of Labor responding to a complaint that she was hiring minors. The event was off.
“My feelings were hurt. … I was shocked. There’s no way a decent person would gather that I was trying to hire minors to do any type of work for me,” Johnson said, according to USA Today.
The root of the issue was that the Department of Labor thought she would profit from the labor of a minor if any lemonade was sold.
“This is an LLC with professional transportation and distribution,” a representative of the department told Al.com.
“Kids that age can volunteer for their church or other non-profit, but a 6-year-old cannot work for a for-profit business. She is free to employ her child at her lemonade business, but no other children under the age of 14. The business has faced no penalties and was not threatened with any penalties.”
“It was a very heartbreaking thing for me,” Johnson said. “I was just trying to do a good thing and help some kids and help the community. For someone to turn it into what they did, it was pretty awful.”
So the mother took to Facebook to admit she had experienced a setback, but there was not much in her post that accepted defeat.
“Although my heart was in the right place.. someone else’s was not. I was reported to the Department of Labor for hiring minors!!!” she wrote.
“Some miserable soul thought it [would] be a good idea to have it shut down, so with that being said.. the child event I was trying to have is cancelled!!
“I think it is disgusting, hateful, and downright sad for a person to find negative in what I was trying to accomplish! That person is no doubt reading this message, and this is for you: You CANNOT stop what is destined to be! You didn’t win! All you did is make me figure out another way!” she wrote.
“Thank you to everyone who was standing behind me on this, and I promise.. you’ll hear from me soon! To be continued.”
On her Facebook page, Johnson noted that she has told her story to USA Today, Fox News, The Washington Post and multiple local media outlets.
And so she shared the moral of the story.
“Isn’t it ironic, what ONE person meant for bad worked out for our good! When your heart is in the right place the devil can’t win!” she posted.
Johnson told The Post that she has gotten messages of support from all over the country along with questions about shipping her mixture of lemonade.
“It’s been incredible,” she said. “It’s literally taking lemons and turning them into lemonade.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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