A 5-year-old girl in Tower Hamlets, East London, has received dozens of job offers from local businesses and outpourings of sympathy after her upsetting encounter with local authorities began making headlines across the world.
Andre Spicer, a professor at the City University London’s business school, helped his young daughter set up a lemonade stand at the end of their street after she expressed her desire to open up her own stall and sell things. With the summer vacation in full swing and a music festival nearby, it was a decent idea.
Within a minute of setting up the table, decorated with a colorful banner with bright yellow lemons drawn in crayons and four pitchers of freshly made lemonade, the young entrepreneur had her very first customer. With a small glass for 50 pence (65¢) and £1 ($1.30) for large, the 5-year-old was able to sell all her lemonade in less than an hour.
It was all going pretty well, until four council enforcement officers approached the stall. An officer “switched on a portable camera attached to his vest” and began reading a “lengthy legal statement.” Apparently, the young girl did not a have a trading permit to run such a business fine. The officials fined her £150 ($195) — because nothing teaches budding female entrepreneurs the true obstacles of starting their own business than law enforcement officials punishing them for it.
The incident left the little girl sobbing and asking her father “have I done a bad thing?” repeatedly.
Spicer then took to Twitter to share the story.
Took 5 year old daughter to end of our road to run lemonade stand. Fined £180. She's now sobbing, 'I did a bad thing'. Thx @TowerHamletsNow— André Spicer (@andre_spicer) July 15, 2017
When the council did not respond to Spicer’s tweet, he decided to write a column for The Telegraph.
“After five minutes, the officers' jobs were done and they went on their way. We packed up and made the short walk home. My daughter sobbed all the way,” he wrote. “When she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required. But this was a 5-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.”
The column went viral and the concerned authorities soon apologized, waiving the fine.
We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen. (2/3)— Tower Hamlets (@TowerHamletsNow) July 21, 2017
Since then, a number of business owners have tweeted Spicer, asking if his daughter can set up lemonade stands at various festivities.
@andre_spicer in all seriousness, would your daughter like to sell some lemonade at Borough Market? We'd love to make that happen for her ??— Borough Market (@boroughmarket) July 22, 2017
She's cordially invited to set up at @citywire HQ in Vauxhall any time she wants— (((Richard Lander))) (@richardlander) July 21, 2017
“We have been overwhelmed by the kind response from people across the world. Dozens of festivals, markets and businesses have offered us the opportunity to set up a lemonade stand. We hope they will extend this invitation to others who'd love to make a stand,” the Spicer family responded to the offers on social media.
“Children could sell home-made lemonade, hand drawn comics or vegetables they have grown. Young people could do more than sell things, like sharing film or music they've created, or gaining support for their local club.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Pixabay, ErikaWittlieb