An Alabama mother says the state’s labor department contacted her after receiving a complaint alleging she was “violating child labor laws” by offering an apprenticeship for other neighborhood kids at her eight-year-old son’s lemonade stand.
Cameron Johnson started the stand in 2022, when he was seven years old, to save up for a trip to Disney.
The young entrepreneur’s mother, Cristal Johnson, said that their problems started after she put up an ad saying that her son was offering a “one-day apprenticeship” for a “smiler” and a “greeter” at his stand.
“On July 9th Cam’s Lemonade will employ 2 kids 6-10yrs old,” Johnson wrote in a social media post. “We will open from 2-6, you can drop them off with us at the truck for a 2 hr shift, and pick them up at the end of their shift. I will let them work with Cam on communicating with customers, giving and receiving payments, and good manners. They will each receive $20 at the end of their shift.”
Johnson added that she hoped to “help them build self-esteem, help them with counting, speaking like a big kid, following directions, & some good old fun!”
The mother and son appeared on “Fox & Friends First” Thursday to discuss what happened.
“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,”
“I was trying to teach them exactly what I’m trying to teach my son, just how to handle money. Customer service skills. Teach the little boys how to shake hands correctly. And just little things like that. That’s all I was trying to accomplish,” she said.
Johnson does not know who reported her — but she thanked them on air.
“The first thing that comes to mind is who could dislike us that much to go that far? And I just have no idea. But I’m sure that whomever did it is pretty regretful right about now,” she said. “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,” Johnson added.
According to a report from Yahoo News, “Johnson said the U.S. Department of Labor representative she spoke to understood what she was trying to do, but the event needed to be nixed because she could’ve profited from a child working for her if lemonade was sold.”
“Now, Johnson said she’s planning another event and will check with her contact in the department first. They’ll have a similar event, but no lemonade will be sold to customers that day, she said.”