Teen goes viral, lands job after walking miles for job interview

What started out as a miserable day battling an icy 10-mile walk for a job interview, ended with a job offer and social media fame for an Indianapolis teen.

It was all thanks to a chance encounter along the way.

Art Bouvier decided to delay the opening of his restaurant, Papa Roux Cajun Cooking, due to the snow and ice. It was when he was salting down his sidewalk that he noticed a young man, 18-year-old Jhaqueil Reagan, walking toward him with a determined look on his face.

“He came walking through the parking lot and cutting the corner to get down westbound on 10th Street and he says, ‘Excuse me, can you tell me how far it is to 10th and Sherman?'” said Bouvier, who also goes by Papa. “I looked at the ground, it’s all ice, and I said, ’10th and Sherman? That’s about six or seven miles away. You’re not going to get there anytime soon in this weather. You’ll probably need to take a bus, and he said, ‘Okay, thank you sir.’ And he just kept going.”

Not only was 10th Street icy, it doesn’t have a sidewalk for an extended stretch on the east side. Papa said that’s why he was surprised to run into Reagan again while driving down 10th Street 20 minutes later.

“I said, well how come you’re not on the bus?” Papa said. “He said, ‘I can’t afford the bus until I get a job.'”

Reagan told Papa that he was walking to a job interview for a minimum wage job at a local thrift store. Though Papa knew the interview was at 10th and Sherman, he soon found out that Reagan was actually living at 42nd and Post, nearly 10 miles away.

“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,” Papa said. “That’s the kind of story your parents used to tell, my parents used to tell, up both ways in the snow.”

Papa gave him a ride the rest of the way, gave him money for lunch, and told him he’d try to see if he could find room for him in his kitchen if he still needed a job after the interview.

Papa then shared Regan’s story on Facebook. Within a few hours he had more than 7,000 likes.

“More likes than I have friends,” Papa said. “It’s been shared 1,200 times. I have no explanation for that.”

On Friday night that promise became reality. Papa, called Reagan and offered him a job. He also offered to pick him up and bring him in for his first shift.

“I’m lucky I met him,” Reagan said. “I’m really lucky I met him.”

Reagan said it’s been hard finding opportunities. He was forced to quit school two years ago when his mother died. He completed his GED while staying home to care for his siblings.

Now that he has a job, and a following on Facebook?

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know. It’s really crazy,” Reagan said. “My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start.”

“I can show you the ropes tonight if you want. We’re really busy in there,” Papa said to Reagan.

“Thank you very much,” Reagan said.

Reagan’s story inspired an outpouring of support on Facebook. Several people offered to buy him a bus pass in order to make it to his new job, but that won’t be necessary. After seeing the story on Fox59, a representative with IndyGo offered him a complimentary one year bus pass.

168 comments

    • Guest

      god sure did a great job offing this guys mom and putting him in his difficult situation as well. Good luck to Mr. Reagan; it's great to see an inspiring story about something positive in the news these days. I'm not sure if the false little man in the sky deserves the credit.

      • Guest

        God is not a man in the sky friend. That is how the message was spread. Open your mind and the truth becomes obvious.

      • Guest

        You're not my friend bible thumper. I choose to surround myself with adults who take responsibility for their own actions and not believe in christian fairy tales.

      • Ken

        Here's the deal mister.
        If I believe in God, and if there is none it won't cost me anything, and I am thrilled that my life was lived as a Christianh!!!
        If you are the non believer you say you are, When you pass on you had better be right think of hell.
        Madeline O'Hair: Just before the fella shot her in the head. I bet she prayed!!!
        Think about it.

      • Guest

        I don't think God would appreciate someone believing him as an "insurance policy" against "hell".

    • RWL

      I believe in God too, but God is NOT in the employment business nor does he help ones get rich, make touchdowns, home runs, win NASCAR races.

      He's word incourage ones to be hard working whitch pays off as it did for this youn man. If ones follow his word they are better fathers, mothers, teachers, WORKERS, etc.

      Miracles from heave are created too many time for things that just happen, and God is blamed for too many bad things, like a little child died so "god needed another angle so he took (murderd) it." Or a disaster is call an act of God.

      He helps ones endure adversities while we wait on a more permanent solution to mankinds problems,

      HE'S KINGDOM.

    • bean

      im sure you'll wqant to blah blah blah about what im about to say, god is good? where was this god when his mother died and he as a kid was taking care of kids…… what? gods will? his plan to make this kid a stronger person? or the "he works in mysterious ways crap? why cant it be "Jhaqueil Reagan is good!" or "Papa is good" ….instead of taking this very touching warm and fuzzy feeling story and ……. ah whatever.. good luck with that.
      good =god
      not good = something else?

    • wounded_defecator

      It’s likely that most of these smarmy comments are from tax-feeding parasites (ie, pigs, teachers and video-gaming military) who seek to commit the civilized to serfdom.

    • Tom

      Yes – God is good and works in mysterious ways.
      One time I was so low being unemployed I plucked up courage and asked for his help.
      The next day the phone rang asking me if I was free for an interview.
      I was spooked out !!!
      If never forgotten to this day.

    • Erin

      LOL, you're a moron. That guy's name is Art Bouvier and IndyGo hooked him up with the bus pass, this has nothing to do with your idea of "God" so just stop.

  • amanda

    I don't know many adults who would walk that far for a job and definitely no teenagers. I wish him the best of luck!

  • Jasmine

    I commend this young man and the store owner also. These are the uplifting stories we need to hear more often. I wish this young man the very best and hope that others are inspired by his story.

  • Bar

    God said you take one step I will take 3 not only did he get a better job hr received way to get there. See what determination get you. God is truly great.

  • vicki

    I think fox should help out by taking donatings for this kid if he is taking care of siblings and making minium wage I am sure even with food stamps or food pantries money is tight and it has been cold think about utilities and just keeping a roof over their heads. If he couldn’t afford the bus think about getting clothes socks personal hygiene products. There are so many people that will not fight as hard as he did to get a job this would not be a waste he is trying to succeed in a ecomony that is bound to hold someone back. Donatings could help him get that edge for him and his siblings to succeed

    • guest

      if i could "thumbs up" this comment one hundred times I would. I just wish all teenagers had his determination, then maybe they wouldn't be looked down on so poorly (not trying to detreact from this wonderful story). May he build on this and realize a good work ethic will get you further in life and his foot in the door somewhere better and proving it can be done with a little bit of perseverance with trying to keep the family together. May he (the teenager) be able to repay it forward someday to some kid in need.

    • Rebecca

      I agree with doing that. I also think a car should be donated to him so he can get back and forth. I would pay for his registration and car insurance. Kids like this are rare these days.

    • guest

      I was thinking the same thing. The kid lost his mom at what, 16 yrs old? He still got his GED which shows determination but if we don't help our kids and young adults who are in impossible circumstances how do we expext them to succeed. I'm sure this kid has what it takes to keep fighting but imagine what he could achieve with a little help…

  • JBo

    What a GREAT story. Timing IS everything. Reagan and Papa are both fine examples for all of us. Please let us know how they're doing in the future.

  • MeatPlow

    Awesome, that is a miracle that they met at that chance time and place.

    A gift given from a man is more powerful than a grant taken by a government.

  • Roberta Blaine

    Hey! A BUS PASS? How about an education! This kid has given up his dreams to care for a brother and sister. This state supports individuals who are too lazy to get off their backside and close a door; and, we give this kid a BUS PASS. While we run our mouths about how great it is to find a teen who will walk ten miles for a job interview, that's all we are willing to give. We give more than that to the Dog Pound. Save An Animal, throw a child awaY. Give me a break! I am challenging Channel 13, Channel 8, Channel 6 and Fox New to contibute substantially to this kids education. I have contacted Huntington Bank about setting up a college fund for this kid. They are going to get back to me today. All of you eat every meal out, IPhone, cable TV, high speed internet, two car, three car garage owners start thinking about putting your money where your mouth is. Quiet Frankly, you can't eat lip service.

    • Beckie

      What else is the bus system, IndyGo, the people who gave him the pass, supposed to do? That's the ultimate thing they COULD do, give him a year long bus pass. A monthly pass is $60, and that's $720 a year that this young man doesn't have to spend.

      • Roberta Blaine

        A scholarship maybe! They are alway looking for ways to push the idea of a first class transit system. They want the public to hand out to them, what is the problem with them handing out to the public. $720. Geeeeeeeeeee. If you were eighteen, your mother dead and a brother and sister to care for, how would you feel? There were,according to the news, 7000 comments. How about a $1.00 for every comment. $7000. dollars could really help that family. Oh, I forgot, they're not a family. A family is a Mommy, Daddy and two and a half kids. I'll get back to you after I talk with Huntington Bank on Monday. Just hold that thought–your heart is in the right place, it's your head we need to work on. You may be our hardest worker.

    • Larry

      Roberta: Typical of someone that doesn't offer anything from themse;lves to expect others to
      give. Pathetic criticism of the generous gift of a bus pass that is very important to this MAN.

  • Cindy G

    If I lived in Indy first I would definatly make this mans restaurant on my #1 place to eat list, then I would tip the young man generously and if able I would contribute to a fund set up for him. Most people didn't want to go places in their cars in that weather and most certainly not on foot. Great story.

      • Stephanie

        Do you get the account set up? I agree that the young man could use a college fund, but he could probably use some help with feeding those siblings too….I would like to donate.

  • April

    It just goes to show that there are still great and decent people in this world. I was very happy to hear Indy Go stepped in as well. Hope everything goes well for them.

    • anit-everything guy

      I'd be more worried about you out in public than I would be for the god person. At least they have love in their heart, and I am a non-believer.

      I really think YOU should kill yourself.

      • Guest

        I detect good reason to be worried about you and him in public. Neither of you has love in your heart apparently. Both of you are encouraging a suicide. As for me, I encourage both of you to repent toward God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Joan

      I'm sorry for you Mr. " Hate" !!! God has everything to do with it!! I'll be praying for you. God loves you reguardless of how you feel about Him.

    • Roberta Blaine

      We will be praying for you too. By the way maybe you could use some schooling to learn a vocabutary (words) large enough to express yourself without cursing.

    • Dan

      people like you are the real problem with this great country today… I know too many just like you that will try to drag the other person down so you feel better about yourself…

    • Jorge

      Truly, you are a perfect example of what being an imbecile is all about, you need to get educated before YOU get klled, moron.

    • Gray

      While reading that lovely comment I'm not surprise that your name is Hate. Sounds like a lot
      of hate in your comment. I pray for any way.

  • Betty

    Thank you Papa Roux for taking the initiative not only with the boy but advancing the story to Facebook for all to get involved! I also will be one of your new customers! HIP-HIP HOORAY FOR PAPA ROUX!

  • Eloise Hughes

    What an inspiring story. God Bless, Papa Roux for helping this fine young man who was trying to help himself. We need more people in this world like both of these gentlemen.

      • alsdeb

        What an idiot you are! You need to crawl back under your rock and quit making absolutely stupid comments about things you know nothing about.

  • Diana

    with all the negative & bad in the news everyday it is good to hear/see stories like this.
    Thank you Jesus there are still good things that happen.

    • Sassy

      10th and Post Road next to the day care center. He has a booming business. Best cajun food north or New Orleans. They came here after Katrine. Wonderful folks!!!

      • Judith

        11 am – 8 pm is LIMITED??? But yeah seating is at a premium cause is soooooo popular. Been a Papa regular for a long time.

  • Boilergal

    Papa's food is great and worth the trip to 10th and Post!!!! You can not leave hungry- and I am not surprised at all by Papa and Mama Roux!! You guys are the best!!! Good luck to this young man

  • Lee

    Luck? This kid doesn't need luck. If he's willing to put in that kind of effort under those circumstances to get a job, how much more effort and initiative will he offer to keep one? This is someone that makes his own luck.

  • Heather

    We need more people OUT in the world like this man! Living these days are not easy anymore. Having people with hearts make life easier. This kid took on something he didnt need. We need more kids like him too, Taking care of his brother n sister is not easy God bless them. God and his angels was watching over him.

  • Mary E. Hughes

    Why are we commenting on this great story and doing nothing. If each person who inquired about this touching story would contribute a dollar to this young man it would help him greatly. I am willing to give more than a dollar to him and say a SPECIAL THANK YOU TO PAPA ROUX.

  • Penelope

    I'm sure life has been tough for him and his siblings since his mom passed away. I hope someone helps him out with free daycare and he is able to get financial aide through the state if/when he wants to go back to school.

    He is doing more than some parents out there that are a "two parent" family. Today is your day, Jhaqueil Reagan! Thanks for being diligent and showing up those who don't feel it is necessary to push themselves to be independent and take care of business!

  • Daniel

    There are alot of people on here talking about a contribution fund for this young man. Is there anyone in this thread that has any specific account that has been set up???

  • Rick

    This Kid is going to grow up as one of our country's beloved citizens. He has the guts and loyalty to take care of his family and still go out to work for their living. I would have hired him up in a minute if I could do that. Whatever the job calls for, he would be the teamplayer who works hard and not complain a bit, and even say an encourging word to his coworkers. This type of courage needs to be spread throughout this generation. A new hunger awaken in America for work and building would reshape our country in a paradise in freedom.

  • drifter

    Anybody that does not hire him is an idiot. This lad is going to be going places. Congrats Tiger–the world is yours! Drifter

  • indigo

    To everyone who insists we give him more: The sacrifice and hard work he has demonstrated should be rewarded with opportunity not handouts. Handouts are why we are so hungry for stories like this. When this young man succeeds and is successful he will have done it by his own sweat and determination. Do not rob him of this. I came from a house without running water or glass in the windows, We stapled plastic over them. I am now an engineer and take care of my parents and i would not trade that for anything.

  • Arlette

    Thanks Tammy for sharing. Congradulations Art. I know that it was just you being you. We need more of you in the wrld.

  • Indianapolis

    Because there are so many blogs out there that tear down others, I try not to read them. But I am thankful for all of you who have commented positively and I feel such a warm sense of community. Thank you for your support of one of our own Hoosier teens: Jhaqueil Reagan

    Fox59 thank you for airing this story. It's refreshing to hear "good" news.. too.

    Art Bouvier Rocks!!! You ARE just being you. It shows in all that you do.

    I am proud of Jhaqueil. He is a very determined and motivated young man. He's got a lot of burdens many of us did not have as a teen and I am humbled by his story. Yes, I am absolutely sure he needs assistance, and it will start with this job. As many have stated before me, I am willing to help in anyway that is needed.

  • local citizen

    The Papa Roux owner just made the best decision of his life helping this 18-year-old. Not only did he aid a young man trying to feed his family, but also will increase his business tenfold. This is the ultimate marketing strategy, it costs Papa Roax zero dollars and has media coverage, viral presence, and the support of his local community now. I wouldn't be surprised if he opened up a few more stores around the area. It just goes to show what helping out the community can really do for your business.

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