This little black boy opened a hot dog stand to raise some money to buy new school clothes. A nasty neighbor called the authorities to shut the kid down. And then the authorities did something amazing.
We have been inundated with stories about white people calling the police on innocent black kids and adults. Finally one of these stories has a happy ending. This one made my day. I think it will make yours too.
Jaequan Faulkner is a 13-year-old boy from Minneapolis, MN. And he opened a hot dog stand in front of his house to try to raise some money to buy new school clothes. His little business was rolling along just fine. But then someone called the Minneapolis Health Department and complained about the hot dog stand.
But instead of shutting him down the Health Department decided to help the kid.
“Health Department staff made sure he had the necessary equipment — thermometers, food containers, hand sanitizer and utensil-cleaning stations — as well as knowledge about proper food handling. Once he passed his health inspection, inspectors paid the $87 for the special event food permit, and the city-sanctioned stand opened for business.”
“Officials in the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) also connected with Faulkner to build his business savvy. Faulkner impressed them with his innate abilities, said Ann Fix, program manager of NEON’s food business incubator.”
““Every day I’ve been going home thinking, ‘This young man is the brightness of my day,’ ” she said.”
““With Jaequan, it’s an even bigger passion,” Fix said. “It’s not just about the hot dogs, it’s about everything in the community.””
Thanks to the Health Department’s help, Faulkner will be traveling with his business around the north side of the city this summer. And he will be making stops at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct and the Minneapolis Urban League and Sanctuary Covenant Church.
“I like having my own business,” the boy said. “I like letting people know just because I’m young doesn’t mean I can’t do” anything. Faulkner says that he likes the sense of accomplishment. And he says that he wants to show a positive image of a black youth in his community.
Next year, Faulkner plans to use 25 cents from each hot dog sale to raise awareness about youth suicide and depression, which he says he’s struggled with personally.
On Monday, after his story got media attention, TV cameras showed up Faulkner’s hot dog stand where business was booming. One of the reporters asked the boy, “Do you like the money?”
He answered, “No. It’s not about the money. It’s just something I enjoy doing.”
Well done young man! And well done Minneapolis!