12 year old T.J. Guerrero got more than he bargained for when he tried to save up for an iPod by setting up a lemonade stand in his front yard. Guerrero’s stand went viral after a neighbor, Doug Wilkey went on a rampage against the child’s stand by reporting him to the city of Dunedin Florida.
The 61 year old Wilkey has reportedly contacted city officials four times in the past two years about the stand, arguing the stand is an “illegal business” that reduces property values.
“The city could possibly face repercussion in the event someone became ill from spoiled/contaminated food or drink sales,” wrote Wilkey in an email. “If this were a once a year event by a couple kids to earn a little money for a holiday or something, I would not have a problem with it… I am very worried about the value of my home, which is why I built in a residential area, not a business area.”
“Please help me regain my quiet home and neighborhood,” added Wilkey.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, a community police officer was sent to investigate the issue on more than one occasion, but found no issue with Guerrero’s stand. The officer even polled the neighbors and found no objections other than Wilkey’s. Reports add that neighbors were “baffled that anyone complained.”
While investigations failed to yield any wrongdoings on the part of the 12 year old entrepreneur, it appears that Wilkey himself has been violating city business ordinances. The Washington Post reports that Wilkey used his home address for his business. According to city officials, they are currently drafting a letter to Wilkey informing him that he must purchase a business license and sign an affidavit to avoid facing a daily fine.
Far from being deterred by his neighbor’s bullying, young T.J. kept his stand open, and is doing better than ever. Business has exploded since Wilkey’s complaints made headlines across the globe. The Washington Post reports that in addition to community support, a local radio host has helped T.J. raise awareness of his stand, and at the same time his sales.
T.J. was even invited to throw out the first pitch at the Blue Jays playoff game.