A $500 ticket for not having a vendor’s permit issued to…six kids running a lemonade stand? Yup.
The kids in Montgomery County, Maryland, who set up shop outside the Congressional Country Club where the U.S. Open is being held, had hoped to make a few bucks from thirsty passersby. But the fun quickly came to an end when a cameraman from a local news station caught a county inspector issuing the kids a ticket on tape.
By the end of the golf tournament’s opening day, after an outcry on the Internet, the county had canceled the ticket and moved the lemonade stand down a side street.
Jennifer Hughes of Montgomery’s Department of Permitting Services, told the Washington Post, “It wasn’t that we were the big hand of county government trying to come down and squash anything…We were attempting to do what a government is charged with doing, which is protecting communities and protecting the safety of people.”
The kids were, naturally, confused. Thirteen-year-old Isabella, who was tasked with watching over the younger kids selling the drinks, said, “I just think the whole thing was kind of insane that they made such a big deal about a small problem. In the first place, I don’t know how a 10-year-old could get a permit.”
Hughes said that the vendor laws are in place to stop illegal sales that often take place on the streets outside sporting venues, and that those laws don’t distinguish between adults and kids operating a lemonade stand.
But the kids and their supporters aren’t backing down. Family friend Carrie Marriott told the Washington Post the kids have learned an important lesson: “When something’s right, you stand up for your beliefs. That’s what America’s about. It’s about free enterprise. It’s about taking an idea, making it happen and making it successful.”
The kids have taken what America is about to heart. They’ve decided the profits from their lemonade stand will go to charity.