Tags: Lemonade | Felon

Lemonade Felon

Friday, 20 June 2003 12:00 AM

Six-year-old gangsters, tempting innocent passersby with their illegal contraband, were shut down last week after a daring daylight raid by the Naples, Fla., police department.

Avigayil, leader of the tiny band of post-toddlers, thinking she was safe from the long arm of the law, brazenly placed her lemonade stand in a residential area, where anyone with the proper change could partake of the pale yellow nectar. According to WBBH-TV, the blatant acts of selling lemonade without a city permit could not be allowed to continue in Naples.

“We didn't have a permit, so she called the cops,” said 6-year-old Avigayil to NBC-2 TV, speaking about the neighbor who squealed. Accordingly, Avigayil’s mom was not about to take the shutting down of her daughter’s business enterprise lightly. "I was kind of shocked because I didn't know we needed a permit for 6-year-old girls to sell lemonade," said Avigayil’s mom, who marched down to Naples City Hall.

According to the Naples police, they do not usually shut down businesses owned and operated by 6-year-olds. However, because there was a formal complaint made by someone who apparently has the personality associated with the yellow fruit, the police claim they had to act.

Of course, not everyone will agree with that understanding. Some people will naturally assume that a 6-year-old running a lemonade stand free from governmental regulations is about as old an American tradition as you can find. Some people might even believe that the Naples police could have told the little girl’s neighbor what she could do with her complaint.

Just the same, according to an NBC-2 TV report, "the city played Mr. Nice Guy." The city apparently did not charge Avigayil for her lemonade stand and will not charge her for each day of its use. Avigayil can now once again sell lemonade for as long as the city does not get another complaint about a 6-year-old girl trying to act like a 6-year-old.

The city may have acted in the best way possible under the circumstances, and did all it could to alleviate any stress that little Avigayil may have been going through by having her first business enterprise shut down by the authorities for non-compliance.

However, some folks may find this story outrageous on a number of levels. First, of course, is the idea that when the city put together its licensing regulations, it implied that 6-year-olds were being included in the regulation. Then there is the idea that a true sourpuss of a neighbor would find it offensive to have a little girl run a lemonade stand business, and most of all, that the police would give credence to that sourpuss's ranting.

While we are a country of laws and not man, there nevertheless has to be some human element to all that we do. Common sense, decency and simply doing the "right thing" become foreign to a society that forgets what it is to be a child.

No doubt some politically correct folks will go out of their way to explain why this was a good lesson for a 6-year-old to learn. Of course, they will not explain the kind of world a 6-year-old has to live in when a lemonade stand being shut down by the government is a good lesson to learn.

Laws are written by men and women, hopefully in order to make all of us better citizens and our society a better place to live. However, a law that can be interpreted to include 6-year-old children running a lemonade stand is way too farfetched to be acceptable.

Then again, believing that it is necessary to indulge a nasty neighbor’s whim to make life miserable for a 6-year-old girl has to be a gross misunderstanding of one’s civic duty. Not to mention what the police and authorities could have been doing instead of waging war against a little 6-year-old girl that really could have made us all safer and better citizens.

Just who is a better citizen or better off in general because a 6-year-old girl’s world was turned upside down by people who are no better than automatons when it comes to enforcing the law to the letter, even when it comes to little girls and their lemonade stands?

Little Avigayil is back to getting up early, opening her business each day. As she has said: "We like making money at our lemonade stand. We want it to stay cold so they can have cold lemonade on hot days."

Let us all hope that as Americans we never again lose sight of what life is all about. If it isn’t about keeping our children safe and happy, how can we continue to call ourselves Americans? How can we continue to see ourselves as a loving and caring people?

© 2003 paul walfield All Rights Reserved.

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Six-year-old gangsters, tempting innocent passersby with their illegal contraband, were shut down last week after a daring daylight raid by the Naples, Fla., police department. Avigayil, leader of the tiny band of post-toddlers, thinking she was safe from the long arm of...
Lemonade,Felon
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2003-00-20
Friday, 20 June 2003 12:00 AM
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