1. Art Bouvier is the owner of Indianapolis Cajun restaurant Papa Roux. He was putting ice melt on his frozen parking lot when a young man asked him for directions.
2. A few minutes later Bouvier was driving and saw the same young man, Jhaqueil Reagan, still walking. He picked him up and gave him a ride. Reagan had no money for the bus and was walking to an interview at a local thrift shop.
3. Bouvier wrote about the experience on his restaurant’s Facebook wall and announced that he would soon be offering a job to Reagan.
So while I’m outside putting down massive quantities of ice melt, a young kid walked through the parking lot headed west. He asked me how far it was to 10th and Sherman.
I told him it was quite a way away. At least 6 or 7 miles. I suggested that he would be far better off on the bus then on foot, especially in all this ice and slush. He thanked me and continued on.
He could have asked me for money for a bus. In fact I quite expected him to. He didn’t. He just started walking.
15 minutes later, as we were driving down 10th street to head to Strange Brew, we saw him still waking down 10th. He was not yet to Franklin Road.
I told Colleen Roux to pull over, and I called to him to get in. As we were driving, we asked him about his journey.
Jhaquiel was waking from 42nd and Post to an interview at 10th and Sherman. For a potential (but not guaranteed) minimum-wage job. In this weather. Walking, because he couldn’t afford the bus. He had actually planned his time well and the interview was still 2 hours away.
We drove him to 10th and Sherman. He was extremely thankful and said so. I got his telephone number and told him to keep his interview, but I would see if there was a way to hire him, so his daily trek to work would be 3 miles instead of 10. I also asked him if he had eaten today, and he said he hadn’t. I gave him money for lunch and dropped him at the 10th and Sherman Dairy Queen. I think he was in shock.
So, he doesn’t know it yet, but he starts with us on Monday. It’s been a while since I’ve met someone so young with a work ethic like that!
And the next time somebody hands me a sob story about needing money for this or that, because they really want to make their lives better… I hope to be able to introduce them to Jhaquiel. :-)
4. Then during a local news segment, Bouvier called Reagan to hire him. “He told me about it and I was just so surprised, awestruck,” Reagan told local news station WLFI.
5. It looks like hiring Reagan has been good for Papa Roux’s business too, because its Facebook page is full of supportive comments from users all over the country.
6. “I appreciate you trudging through the snow, so now you can trudge here,” Bouvier told Reagan.
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