Jhaquiel Reagan, an Indianapolis teen, set out to walk 10 miles in the freezing cold to a job interview before he was picked up by a complete stranger and given a job, no questions asked.
Reagan, 18, was en route early Friday morning to another part of the city for a 1 p.m. job interview at an Indianapolis Dairy Queen when he stopped to ask Art Bouvier, the proprietor of Papa Roux, a Cajun restaurant in Indianapolis, for directions.
Bouvier told WLFI-TV in Indianapolis that he was laying rock salt outside the establishment after an ice storm before he was approached by the teen, who asked him how far it was to 10th and Sherman.
"And I'm thinking, we're at 10th and Post. I said, 'Buddy that's probably 6, 7 miles. I said, 'You'd be better off on a bus especially in this weather.' He just said, 'OK, thank you.' And he kept going," Bouvier said.
It wouldn’t be long before the two would cross paths again as Bouvier was driving with his wife to a local coffee shop and spotted Reagan a few miles up from where they had just spoken. Bouvier pulled over and asked him if he need a ride.
Having already walked 3 miles before he met Bouvier outside Papa Roux, Reagan hopped in the truck and along the way told the couple that he was on his way to a job interview and didn’t have money for bus fare.
“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,” Bouvier told Fox 59.
Bouvier then told Reagan that even if he was offered the Dairy Queen position, he would double his salary if he came to work at Papa Roux instead. In Indiana, the state’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour
Reagan happily accepted the generous offer and started his job this past Monday.
“It’s crazy. I don’t even know. It’s really crazy,” Reagan told Fox 59. “My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start.”
The story made news headlines after Bouvier posted the teen’s story on Facebook, where it currently has 15,000 “likes” and has been shared nearly 4,000 times.
Reagan told Fox 59 that his mother had passed two years ago and was forced to drop out of high school in order to get a job to support his brothers and sisters.
Now that he has a job at Papa Roux, he is looking forward to getting an apartment closer to his workplace so that he doesn’t have to walk so far.
According to Fox 59, IndyGo, the Indianapolis' public transportation authority, has come forward and given Jhaqueil a year's supply of bus passes.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.