There were many options for who would ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the Day of Twitter's IPO. The company has four cofounders and one non-founding CEO, all traditional candidates.
But instead, when time came to pronounce Twitter public Thursday morning, a 9-year-old girl dressed in a “little bluebird” tutu dress appeared behind the bell. She is Vivienne Harr, who recently raised more than $100,000 to fight childhood slavery by spending 365 days behind a lemonade stand.
What is it like to be 9 and dressed in a bird dress at the New York Stock Exchange to open one of the biggest Internet IPOs in history?
“It was really, really, really cool,” Harr tells Fast Company, “I really liked it and it was amazing.”
Harr, who was accompanied by Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart and a Boston police officer for the bell ringing, has had her share of public appearances in the last year. After setting up her charitable lemonade stand near her California home after school and charging $2 per glass, her story began spreading further and further across the country. She became the subject of a documentary film that will hit theaters in February. She traveled to set up stands in places like Orlando and Times Square. Soon she began letting people pay what they want, and one man paid $1,000 for a single glass of lemonade. All proceeds were donated to the anti-human trafficking organization Not For Sale.
The lemonade stand’s connection to Twitter is two-fold. Harr used the platform to accept donations, and her father, a former social media consultant, says the family used the medium to tell people where the stand would be located (Harr is now being home-schooled, ostensibly to accommodate travel).
By choosing Harr to ring the bell, Twitter avoided selecting from leaders who have a recently infamous record for infighting. It also will undoubtedly give the Harr family’s new business, a bottled lemonade B-corp called Make a Stand that donates 5% of its profits to anti-child slavery organizations, a boost.
“Can I say one thing?” Harr asks me before our interview ends. “I just want to say that today I ring the bell to open freedom. And you don’t have to be big and powerful to change the world. You can be just like me.”
Will she buy some Twitter stock herself?
“I don’t know,” she says, “I really like Twitter.”