Conn. Man Rescues 80-Year-Old Lobster From Restaurant Menu

(Image Credit: Alex Nunes/The Day/AP Photo)

A 17-pound lobster on a restaurant menu would be a delicious dinner option for most people but not for one Connecticut man who saw it as a humanitarian mission.

Don MacKenzie of Niantic, Conn., purchased the lobster from a local restaurant but never took a bite. Instead, he released it back into the Long Island Sound Tuesday because he thought the lobster, nicknamed "Lucky Larry" by the locals, deserved to live.

"It takes seven years for him to even become a lobster big enough to keep," MacKenzie told The Day of New London. "For a lobster to live this long and avoid lobster traps, nets, lobster pots … he doesn't deserve a bib and butter."

Being dipped in butter by hungry lobster lovers was exactly where "Lucky Larry" was headed after being caught off the shores of New England and purchased by The Dock Restaurant in Waterford, Conn. The lobster became something of a celebrity among local children who bestowed him the nickname and came by the restaurant to visit, The Day reported.

Based on its size and the numbers of times it has shed its shell, MacKenzie estimated the lobster to be between 80 and 100 years old. He knew then that he had to act and reserved the lobster for dinner.

"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 said. "He deserves to live."

MacKenzie, the vice president of a boat business, purchased "Lucky Larry" for a sum he declined to disclose, saying only "it's the most expensive lobster I never ate," and proceeded with his plan to release rather than eat it.

MacKenzie took Larry out on a boat Tuesday and released the crustacean in a secret location in the waters of the Long Island Sound where. If all goes according to plan, it will be almost impossible for fishermen to catch him again.

The town had its own plan in mind to give the local celebrity a proper sendoff. Local children chanted, "Let Larry live, let Larry live," as the boat departed and the Niantic River Bridge operator sounded the bridge's siren as an official goodbye, according to The Day.

With no lobster meat, no mess and no sticky butter fingers left to show for his 17-pound lobster purchase, MacKenzie took only a simple memento away from his efforts, the two rubber bands that had been wrapped around Larry's claws to keep him from pinching curious onlookers.