California girl, 5, cited for operating lemonade stand without a license

Good grief! A 5-year-old girl in Porterville, Calif., received a citation in late October for operating a lemonade stand without a license.

In June, Autumn Thomasson decided to operate the stand to raise money to pay for a new bike.

Gabby Dehaas, Autumn’s mother, got the word out on social media about her daughter’s idea, and in less than 24 hours the girl had enough money for a new ride.  

“It meant so much to know she earned her own money, that Mom and Dad didn't need to go buy her. She got to bring her own wallet and buy it herself and pay at the cash register," DeHaas told Fox26.

But four months later, DeHaas received a letter from Porterville’s Finance Department with an image of her Facebook post. Enclosed was a citation, ordering the mom to pay for a business license for her daughter’s stand, Fox26 reported.

"I was thrown back by that. I didn't appreciate a screenshot of my daughter sent back to me," DeHaas said.

Porterville City Manager John Lollis told Fox26 the letter was sent in response to a complaint filed with the city. He is now apologizing.

“There's no excuse why it should have been sent,” he said. "We want our youth to be engaged and looking at business opportunities.”

A business license is not required to sell lemonade, Lollis added.

Lollis and City Councilmember Cameron Hamilton went to apologize to DeHaas in-person on Sunday, but she was not home at the time, Fox26 reported.

DeHaas said the experience taught her daughter a valuable lesson.

"There's always gonna be bitter people or bad people," she said. "But there's always gonna be good outweighing everybody."