Indiana Teen Hikes 10 Miles Through Ice Storm For Minimum-Wage Job
The younger generation is often criticized for lacking the classic American work ethic. But Indiana teenager Jhaqueil Reagan has proven that the national rite of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is not dead. Neither are happy endings. The 18-year-old hiked through an ice storm for 10 miles to interview for a minimum wage position with a thrift store located near the site of a Dairy Queen, and a local restaurateur was so impressed that he hired Reagan for double the state minimum wage, which would make his salary $14.50 an hour.
Reagan's dedication came to light Friday while he was trudging through a winter storm outside Indianapolis for the the thrift store job. On the way, he asked a man for directions. The man turned out to be Art Bouvier, the owner of a local restaurant, Papa Roux Cajun Cooking. When Bouvier learned of Reagan's 10-mile journey, he asked the 18-year old, "How come you're not on the bus?" Reagan answered: "I can't afford the bus until I get a job," Bouvier told Indianapolis TV station Fox59
"That's the kind of story your parents used to tell, my parents used to tell, up both ways in the snow," he told Fox59. So Bouvier decided to follow up with Reagan. In a post on Facebook, Bouvier recounted how Reagan never asked for any money for the bus. He then decided to get in his car and follow Reagan, before finally catching up with him 15 minutes later. (Since being posted on Friday, Bouvier's post has gotten more than 15,000 "likes." Commenters have been effusive with their praise, with one, Charlie Bentz, saying: "this is what we need more of in this country.")
After picking up Reagan, Bouvier dropped the teen off at his interview. But before he let him go, Bouvier told him that whatever the thrift store offers, he'd double it for him to start working with Papa Roux, according to conservative news site TheBlaze. After his interview, Reagan soon found out that the thrift store decided to fill the position with another candidate. But Bouvier told Reagan that he'd have a job waiting for him at Papa Roux on Monday.
In speaking to the TV station, Reagan talked about how he needed the break. After his mother died two years ago, he was forced to stay at home to take care of his siblings. He was only able to earn a high school diploma through GED. Speaking Friday after hearing about his new job, Reagan said his "heart's racing ... I'm just too excited, just excited to start."
Correction: This story was updated on May 13 with information on Jhaqueil Reagan's employment search. He was applying for a job located near a Dairy Queen, not at the Dairy Queen itself, as local reports said at the time.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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