A California girl who shut down her lemonade stand after a stranger reprimanded her is refusing to let him rain on her parade, telling InsideEdition.com it has inspired her to help victims of bullying.
Jasmine LaRoche, 13, set out to meet fellow kids in her Discovery Bay neighborhood while providing a treat that was safe for children who normally cannot have sugary snacks.
“She’s a type 1 diabetic," her father, Richard LaRoche, told InsideEdition.com. "She was trying to have a diabetic-friendly lemonade stand and have a positive impact on our community."
But the budding entrepreneur had spent only 10 minutes selling lemonade and cookies when the unidentified scrooge approached and demanded to know what right she had to set up shop in the neighborhood, her dad said.
When Jasmine couldn’t come up with an answer good enough for him, the man said he was calling the cops.
“I was kind of scared because I thought I might have gotten in trouble by the law,” Jasmine said.
The teen ran home crying and told her parents what happened.
“I was angry … I wanted to go and threaten him back and let him know, 'You’re not going to threaten my daughter,'” LaRoche said. “Then I realized, I have to set an example. This is a learning experience.
"So I figured I can teach Jasmine that other people supporting you is more powerful than being intimidating to someone or having a physical confrontation.”
LaRoche convinced his daughter to set up a second stand and continue working to achieve her goal. He also took to social media to vent his frustrations toward the man who threatened his daughter’s dreams.
“Whoever the man (I wouldn’t call you that if I didn’t have to) was that threatened to call the police on my daughter for her lemonade stand, you are seriously pathetic,” he wrote in a Facebook post that quickly went viral.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve been getting messages from people in London, from people in Germany, from people on the East Coast, as far north as Washington saying how much they support Jasmine or know someone who’s been in that situation,” LaRoche said.
Jasmine’s second attempt at a lemonade stand was a hit, and dozens of neighbors—as well as a few police officers—flocked to the stand to buy a drink and a cookie.
“It was actually amazing to know that the cops were trying to support me as well and it was OK for me to do the lemonade stand in the community,” Jasmine said. “It made me feel happy inside to know the cops are also there for me.”
The show of support—both in person and online—has resonated with the teen and her family, who plan to create a foundation that tackles bullying.
The foundation will be “a lemonade stand anti-bullying movement,” LaRoche explained. “For us, what we’re trying to do is let people know that people like that gentlemen is, that’s a bully. To bully a child is wrong."
Though the details of the organization are still being ironed out, LaRoche and his daughter said they’re looking forward to the opportunity to empower other children to stand up in the face of bullying.
“Just try and stay happy and strong,” Jasmine said, speaking to those who have also been bullied. “Even if you feel scared at the moment, just basically try to stay strong.”