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HUEYTOWN, Ala. – A young Alabama entrepreneur with a thriving lemonade stand received sour news when his business was reported to the state’s labor agency.

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Cristal Johnson, of Hueytown, said she received a notice from the Alabama Department of Labor after she offered an apprenticeship program, where two children could learn more about the successful business started last year by her son, Cameron Johnson. The children would serve as a greeter and smile for the third grader’s business, USA Today reported. According to a Facebook post on June 22, Johnson said the two children selected would receive $20 apiece.

A person reading the post apparently was soured by the idea of paying children and reported Cristal Johnson.

“(Teaching them) self-esteem, teach them how to count, math skills, things like that,” she told WIAT-TV. “Someone found wrong in that, and I was unfortunately reported to the Department of Labor.

“It was heartbreaking.”

Cristal Johnson told USA Today that her feelings were hurt after getting the call from the department.

“I was shocked,” she told the newspaper. “There’s no way a decent person would gather that I was trying to hire minors to do any type of work for me.”

Cristal Johnson said she and her son started a lemonade stand during a yard sale, and bolstered by social media, the idea took off, reported. It has become so successful that 10 flavors of “Cam’s Lemonade” will be available at Piggly Wiggly stores across Jefferson and Walker counties, WIAT reported.

Cameron said his dream would be for Walmart and Target to carry his lemonade, according to the television station.

Cameron told that the lemonade stand was a way to “have fun” with his mother.

“It’s taught me how to save money,” he told the news outlet.

That is what led Cristal Johnson to try out the apprenticeship idea. The single mother, who is a respiratory therapist, said that children applying needed to provide a resume and explain what “they want to be when they grow up and why.”

“I came up with this idea to get a couple of kids in and do the same thing I did with my son,” Cristal Johnson told “He’s a little shy, and sometimes he stumbles with giving change, so I thought it would be a good idea to help some kids with confidence, self-esteem, math skills.”

A spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Labor told the news outlet that it does not “stop lemonade stands, and we never have.”

However, the spokesperson said the complaint dealt only with the apprentice program.

“This is an LLC with professional transportation and distribution,” the spokesperson told “Kids that age can volunteer for their church or other non-profit, but a 6-year-old cannot work for a for-profit business. She is free to employ her child at her lemonade business, but no other children under the age of 14. The business has faced no penalties and was not threatened with any penalties.”

After receiving the call to cancel the event, Cristal Johnson voiced her frustration in another Facebook post.

“Although my heart was in the right place … someone else’s was not,” Johnson wrote Friday. “That person is no doubt reading this message, and this is for you: You CANNOT stop what is destined to be! You didn’t win! All you did is make me figure out another way.”

Johnson said community members have rallied behind her and Cameron. A sour beginning is moving toward a sweet end.

“Strangers reached out in-boxing me with suggestions, I’ve had a couple of places reach out and say, ‘Hey come set up at our location,” Cristal Johnson told WIAT. “What someone meant for bad definitely turned out good.”