Man buys 17-pound lobster from restaurant to set it free in ocean

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Just when you think you can’t stomach reading any more news stories and are getting ready to board up your windows and brace yourself for the coming storm, a guy like Don MacKenzie reminds us that the human spirit still shines bright out of the chaos of a violent world.

MacKenzie, a Connecticut man, picked out a meaty 17-pound lobster from a restaurant with no intention of making a meal out of the crustacean. Instead, he released the animal back into the Long Island Sound because he felt that the lobster didn’t deserve to meet its end in a pot of boiling water as a feast for an overfed restaurant patron.

Nicknamed “Lucky Larry” by local children, the lobster should be around 80 to 100 years old based on its size.

“This lobster has seen World War I, World War II, seen the landing on the moon and the Red Sox win the World Series. He’s made it this far in life,” MacKenzie told the Day of New London. “He deserves to live.”

MacKenzie talked about how much it would take for a guy like Lucky Larry to spend all these years avoiding “lobster traps, nets, lobster pots … he doesn’t deserve a bib and butter.”

Despite becoming somewhat of a local celebrity as children came often to the restaurant to visit Lucky Larry and look at him through his death row glass, it seems no but MacKenzie realized that a creature that had outlived most people who spent their lives trying to trap him deserved more dignity than “a bib and butter.”

The town gave Lucky Larry a proper send off with a toot from the Niantic River Bridge’s siren and children chanting “Let Larry Live” as MacKenzie departed in a boat to a secret location where no one with any bib-and-butter inclinations will find the “most expensive lobster” MacKenzie “never ate.”

The way this town and the media have celebrated one man’s choice to give life rather than death to a creature no one in their right mind would have any desire to curl up to on a cold rainy night highlights the beauty still kindling in the human spirit.

And, more importantly, it emphasizes the fact that we have the choice, with every meal, to choose life over death.

MacKenzie could have eaten Larry and never given it a second thought and gone about his day and he’d get hungry again later and Larry would be dead forever. Instead, MacKenzie gave the greatest gift anyone could give, and became a celebrity because of it.

The life of one big sea bug may seem so insignificant, but MacKenzie saved one life, and in so doing he saved the whole world.

He reminded us that even though Nature has forced violence and death into the workings of life on this planet, humans, outside of any other species, have the wonderful ability to opt out, and bring peace into our own hearts.

MacKenzie gave Larry the gift of life, and gave all the kindred spirits who decided to wait another day to board up the windows the gift of hope. And, as we all know, “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

Larry will die out there someday, but MacKenzie’s gift never will.

  • Tina Page

    Tina is a journalist and mother of three who's lived all her life in the South Bay of Los Angeles except for a two-year stint in the heart of Spain. She believes humans have the capacity to make this a beautiful world for all species to live, and mothers have a special charge to raise their children to enjoy, love and respect all creatures.

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