- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2017

The city of Porterville, California, has apologized after a 5-year-old girl trying to raise money for a bike was cited for operating a lemonade stand without a business license.

Gabby Dehaas said she received a letter in the mail last week ordering her to pay for a business license for her daughter’s lemonade stand that was set up temporarily in their driveway in June, Fox News reported.

Ms. Dehaas said her daughter, 5-year-old Autumn Thomasson, raised enough money for her new bike in less than 24 hours.

“It meant so much to know she earned her own money, that Mom and Dad didn’t need to go buy her,” she told a local Fox affiliate. “She got to bring her own wallet and buy it herself and pay at the cash register.”

The letter, sent four months after the fact by Porterville’s Finance Department, included a screenshot of Ms. Dehaas’s Facebook post advertising the stand, and said she had to obtain a business license to continue operating it.

Porterville City Manager John Lollis said the letter was sent in error after another resident complaint anonymously about the stand. He said a business license is not required for children to sell lemonade or any other treats.

“There’s no excuse why it should have been sent,” Mr. Lollis told Fox. “We want our youth to be engaged and looking at business opportunities.”

“It makes the city look bad,” he added.

Mr. Lollis and City Councilman Cameron Hamilton said they went to apologize to the family in person Sunday, but they weren’t home, Fox reported.

Ms. DeHaas said the experience taught her daughter an important lesson.

“There’s always gonna be bitter people or bad people,” she said. “But there’s always gonna be good outweighing everybody.”

She said Autumn plans to open her lemonade stand again ahead of the holidays in order to sponsor a family or classmate in need.

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