As the heat wave of July 2012 bore down on New England, chants of “Let Larry Live” rang out from the quiet coastal towns of Niantic and Waterford in Southeastern Connecticut. A small boat with three passengers on board made its way out through the mouth of the Niantic River, children cheered and the bridge operator fired off a military style salute. What was all the fanfare about, an international political prisoner perhaps? Think again. The target of the display was the estimated 80-plus-year old, 17-pound lobster that was affectionately dubbed “Larry the Lobster” by his new benefactor, Don MacKenzie of Boats Incorporated.
Don purchased the lobster from a local restaurant, known as The Dock, when he heard that the “bug” was to be served as the main course of an upcoming feast. Knowing the lobster had survived over three-quarter of a century’s worth of lobster traps and attempted predation by fish, seals and the likes, he simply could not allow the majestic creature to end up being boiled in a pot and doused in melted butter. So he took matters into his own hands, purchased the lobster from the restaurant and set out to free him at an undisclosed deep-water location off the coast of Connecticut where he could live out the rest of his life.
While this heart-warming story started out with little more than a little local buzz, it eventually went viral and made national headlines here in the United States before being picked up by news agencies across the globe. As if that was not enough, the story took another leap forward towards securing its place in history when on January 7, 2013, the story was the subject of a question on the hit television game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (See picture) While I do not know if the contestant got the question correct, I sure hope that she did and Larry’s good fortune passed along to another. Here’s to a long and healthy life for Larry!