Have you ever wondered what it's like to be the biggest jerk in the world? Just ask the Maryland cops who fined children $500 for operating a lemonade stand without a license. Not infuriating enough to you? How about the fact that the proceeds were set to go to a charity that fights pediatric cancer? Outrage commence.
The kids, savvy little business people that they are, set up the stand near the U.S. Open because, duh, lots of people would walk by. (Lots of people=lots of money to pediatric cancer.) But the cops didn't appreciate their keen entrepreneurial sense. As one police officer said, "Cute little kids making five or ten dollars is a little bit different than making hundreds." Long pause ... again, lots of people=lots of money to pediatric cancer. And they're children, for chrissake!
When I was younger, my friends and I, probably like your friends and you, opened many a lemonade stand. There even were a few occasions when we opened soda and water stands when we couldn't find any Country Time in the house. We did this to have fun. We did this to make a couple bucks so we'd be able to buy gumballs and jelly bracelets at the convenient store. We never did this to help others. (Unless you count the time my 5-year-old sister bought my father a single Coors Light can with the proceeds. True story.)
Point is, we never did this for something as valiant and honorable and kind and thoughtful as cancer research. And we were never shut down. Granted, we weren't operating near a major sporting event, but it's not like we were setting up shop in the sticks. There was some "competition" nearby. And not a single police officer ever said boo to us.
And the thing that's almost equally infuriating is that some people actually agree with the police. One of the commenters on the site I discovered this nonsense on said:
What if those kids hadn't washed their hands before making that lemonade and it was all contaminated with E. coli? Because they're not permitted and inspected, nobody would be able to prevent that, and you could end up with dozens of sick, possibly dead customers. Sorry, but it makes public health sense to me.
A permit and an inspection for a lemonade stand? What is the world coming to?! If you're uncomfortable with the "health quality" of the drink, don't buy it, or buy it and throw it out. The point is to support these kids and the cause they're raising money for. Nobody ever said you were in store for fine dining.
This is a big time disappointment, Maryland PD. Not only did you take money away from kids doing a good thing, you kind of crapped all over a piece of Americana. I hope you at least have the sense to donate the $500 to pediatric cancer research.
What do you think of this?
Image via VividImageInc/Flickr