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Mother left heartbroken after complaint filed against 8-year-old's lemonade stand to Alabama Department of Labor
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Mother left heartbroken after complaint filed against 8-year-old's lemonade stand to Alabama Department of Labor

An Alabama 8-year-old is the owner of a popular lemonade stand that he started to earn money for a trip to Disney World. However, the young boy encountered a bump in the road after a complaint was made to the Alabama Department of Labor.

Cam Johnson wanted to visit Disney World, but his mother said that he would have to earn it.

“As a typical 8-year-old, he was seven at the time, he stayed in my pocket, asking, 'Hey, can we do this, can we do that?' And so when he asked about Disney World, I told him, 'Let’s let you earn a dollar,'" Cristal Johnson, the boy's mother, told WIAT.

The third-grader started a lemonade stand last year in the family's front yard.

"It started out last year as just a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway, and thankfully, it just blew up," the mother said.

Since Johnson launched Cam's Lemonade, the stand has operated at community events. Cam has 10 different flavors, and his lemonade is sold at local Piggly Wiggly grocery stores.

The mother made a flyer encouraging children from ages six to 10 to sign up for a "one-day apprenticeship." Children could apply for positions of "smiler" and "greeter." Children interested could apply by submitting a resume with what "they want to be when they grow up and why."

Cristal Johnson told Alabama.com, "I came up with this idea to get a couple of kids in and do the same thing I did with my son. He's a little shy, and sometimes he stumbles with giving change, so I thought it would be a good idea to help some kids with confidence, self-esteem, math skills."

The mother claimed that someone reported her to the Alabama Department of Labor.

"Someone found wrong in that, and I was unfortunately reported to the Department of Labor. … It was heartbreaking," Cristal said.

"Needless to say, I was very shocked and saddened by the fact that anyone found wrong in what I was trying to do. I was trying to do a good thing, give back to my community, and to find out that someone insinuated that I was trying to labor minors, that was … it was pretty sad," Cristal said on "Fox & Friends First" on Thursday.

Cristal said her son "got sad" after the complaint.

The mother received a phone call from the Alabama Labor Department after a complaint was filed against the lemonade stand with accusations of child labor law violations.

A spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Labor confirmed the complaint, but declared the department does not "stop lemonade stands, and we never have."

The Alabama Department of Labor was cracking down on the apprentice program. The department said the lemonade stand could absolutely stay open, but there could be no transactions being made if children were given business lessons.

"This is an LLC with professional transportation and distribution," the spokesperson told Alabama.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."

The mother told the anonymous complainer, "Thank you. Because of that person, it had the opposite effect of what they were trying to do. It propelled us even quicker in our endeavor. So I don’t harbor any ill will. I thank them and I hope they have some remorse themselves for doing what they did."

The mother said Cam has raised enough money and they are planning a trip to Disney World.

Cam said of his business endeavor, "It's taught me how to save money."

Cam said his dream would be to have his lemonade sold at Walmart and Target.

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