When Jhaqueil Reagan's mother died two years ago, he was left with no choice but to quit school so he could take care of his siblings.
He managed to complete his GED, but had been hard-pressed to find a stable job to support the household of which he was now the head at just 18 years of age.
Last week, Jhaqueil came across a job offer at a thrift store in his hometown of Indianapolis. The offer wasn't much — a typical minimum wage position — and, worse still, it was 10 miles away.
With no money for the bus, Jhaqueil was forced to huff it through the snowy, slushy, icy roads between his home on 42nd and Post and the thrift store at 10th and Sherman.
About three miles into his trek, Jhaquiel came across Art Bouvier, owner of Papa Roux Cajun Cooking, who was busy "putting down massive quantities of ice melt" in front of his restaurant.
Jhaquiel asked Bouvier how much farther it was to 10th and Post, and Bouvier responded that he still had 6 or 7 miles ahead of him. "You're not going to get there anytime soon in this weather," Bouvier recalled telling the kid. "You'll probably need to take a bus."
A short while later, Bouvier was driving down 10th St and spotted Jhaquiel still plodding along toward the thrift store. "I said, well how come you're not on the bus?" Bouvier told Fox59. "He said, ‘I can't afford the bus until I get a job.'"
Bouvier offered to give Jhaquiel a lift, and the two started talking. Jhaquiel explained the situation to the restaurateur and the latter was left dumbfounded.
"You hear too many stories about people that want work, but it's got to be the right work. It's got to be glamour work; it's got to be high paying work, a management position," Bouvier told WISH. "And then here's a kid who knows there's work available, and it's hard to get, and it's hard to do, but he'll do it."
On his Facebook page, Bouvier said he immediately began plotting to surprise Jhaquiel with a job offer.
"[H]e doesn't know it yet, but he starts with us on Monday," Bouvier wrote. "It's been a while since I've met someone so young with a work ethic like that!"
Later, after Bouvier made the job offer official, Fox59 asked Jhaquiel how he felt about becoming Facebook famous.
"It's crazy. I don't even know. It's really crazy," he said. "My heart's just racing right now. I'm just too excited, just excited to start."
And he will have an easier time of it too: IndyGo, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, presented Jhaqueil with a year's worth of bus passes to keep him from having to walk 10 miles up both ways in the snow.
[screengrabs via Fox59]