Jhaquell Reagan will have a pretty great story to tell his grandchildren someday: The Indiana teenager walked 10 miles in a snowstorm in pursuit of a minimum-wage job at a thrift store. He had been forced to quit high school two years ago when his mother died; he finished his GED while caring for his younger siblings, but had a hard time finding work. But don’t worry, the tough teen’s employment saga has a very happy ending. Read on to restore your faith in teenagers, the economy, and America.
The story begins on Friday, when Reagan had a job interview scheduled at a local thrift store in Indianapolis. The problem: He didn’t have money for bus fare to get there. So Reagan left home after an ice storm and started walking. He gave himself more than two hours to make the trip.
About three miles into his trip, he walked past a Cajun restaurant called Papa Roux, where proprietor Art Bouvier was outside laying rock salt to combat the ice. Reagan asked him how far it was to the thrift store’s intersection. “I said, ‘Buddy that’s probably six, seven miles,’” Bouvier told a local TV station. “I said, ‘You’d be better off on a bus especially in this weather.’” Reagan just kept walking.
Fifteen minutes later, Bouvier was in his car, and spotted the teenager walking down the street. “I called to him,” Bouvier explained. “I said, ‘Buddy you really do need to be on a bus to go down to 10th and Sherman today’ and he says, ‘Well, I don’t have any money for the bus.’ I said, ‘Well come on, we’re headed that way.’”
They got to talking, and Reagan gave him money for lunch. “I’m thinking to myself, here’s a kid walking almost 10 miles in the ice and slush and snow for the hope of a job at minimum wage,” he said. “That’s the kind of story your parents used to tell, my parents used to tell, up both ways in the snow.”
Bouvier posted the story on Facebook, where it’s received 15,000 “likes” and thousands of shares. More importantly, he offered Reagan a job in his restaurant that pays well over the minimum wage. “It’s crazy. I don’t even know. It’s really crazy,” Reagan told another TV station. “My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start.” His first day was yesterday.