Video: Scooter girl vs. City Hall

By Martin Savidge Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/10/2006 7:40:13 PM ET 2006-10-10T23:40:13

In a world of billion-dollar business deals, you may not have heard about a a girl in a small town with a scooter and big dreams who despite the sage advice believes you really can fight city hall.

Ten-year-old Savanna Nelson won't ever forget the day her life skidded to a halt.

"And the officer stopped me, and he told me I can't ride my scooter any more," Nelson says.

It all began last spring. Using two wheels and a good sense of balance, she began delivering food to shop owners in downtown Fayetteville, N.C.

"That shiny little face and the door opening and saying, ‘Hi, I’m Savanna. Can I get you anything?’” shop manager Christy Vanlare says.

"I made about probably $5 — $5 or $6 a day," Nelson says.

Suddenly, she was the city's youngest entrepreneur. Then came that day the policeman announced the ride was over — her exact words back to him?

"You're joking, right?" she recalls.

He wasn't.

"The ordinance prohibits skateboarding, roller skates, etc., on the sidewalks in the core business district," Fayetteville City Attorney Karen McDonald says.

"I felt really bad," Nelson says. "It was terrible. I came home heartbroken."

But she wasn't down for long. She started a petition, collected more than 400 names and on Monday night brought her fight to city hall.

Now this is the part where you might expect to hear that the law was changed and she scooted happily ever after, but this is the real world. The city council sent the matter to a committee. They'll get back to her.

"I say that she's got some guts," Vanlare says. "And I say that she's she's probably on the right track in life."

So what happens next?

"I think they might change the ordinance," Nelson says.

Martin Savidge: You really do?

Nelson: I really do.

Savidge: You think a 10-year-old can make that kind of difference?

Nelson: Maybe.

You get the feeling talking with Savanna Nelson that, scooter or not, she's going to go far.

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