The kindness of a complete stranger helped the teen turn his life around.

When restaurant owner Art Bouvier first saw 18-year-old Jhaqueil Reagan, he was trudging through the Indianapolis snow on a cold winter day. Reagan stopped to ask Bouvier how far it was to 10th and Sherman and the owner told him it was at least 6 or 7 miles, so it’d be a better idea to take a bus.

But Reagan didn’t have money for the bus. He was homeless living on friends’ couches and had dropped out of high school to care for his brothers and sisters.

Fifteen minutes later, Bouvier drove down the road and saw Reagan still trudging through the snow.

“I called to him and said buddy you really do need to be on a bus to go to 10th and Sherman today? He said, ‘Well I don’t have any money for the bus.’ And I said, ‘ok come on we’ll go that way,'” Bouvier recalled to WISH-TV.

It turned out Reagan was walking to an interview for a potential- but not guaranteed- minimum wage job. Even though he didn’t precisely know the way, he’d time his walk two hours early to arrive on time.

Realizing his incredible work ethic, Bouvier got Reagan’s phone number and told him to keep his interview but he’d see if there was a way to hire him at his restaurant, “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,” Bouvier wrote on Facebook. “I gave him money for lunch and dropped him at the 10th and Sherman Dairy Queen. I think he was in shock.”

Little did Reagan know, but Bouvier was planning to hire the teenager after seeing his work ethic.

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!

Art Bouvier

Don’t give up

Bouvier ended up hiring Reagan, but not only that. The story went viral and the teen was offered free bus passes for a year and Bouvier even offered to help him find an apartment.

For Reagan, his experience taught him an important lesson:

Don’t give up and go out there and try.

Jhaqueil Reagan

The teen now plans to use the goodwill created from his viral story to pay it forward.

“I love that quote: Pay it forward. Art said that to me the first day I met him and I’m going to pay it forward,” he told WISH-TV.

Good things come to those who try

At just 18, life had already dealt Reagan a tough hand- but he persevered. He wouldn’t let bad weather and having no money in his pocket prevent him from going to a job interview, and he ended up getting a completely different job because he put himself out there.

What this story shows is that if you work hard, good things will happen, and that complete strangers can be extremely caring.

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