Despite the depressing developments often coming out in the news daily, not all news is bad news all the time.
For instance, in Minneapolis, 13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner runs a hot dog stand in front of his home. After several complaints about an unpermitted business were filed, the food permit police arrived.
Instead of shutting him down, however, they helped him get the proper permits to continue operating.
Complaints began rolling in shortly after a local news station ran an “upbeat” story on Faulkner’s stand: Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs.
Great pictures from yesterday!Posted by Mr. Faulkner's Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs on Tuesday, July 17, 2018
The Minneapolis Health Department investigates all complaints that are filed, but when investigators arrived and saw that Faulkner was a young teenager, they decided to treat the situation as an opportunity for growth.
Since hot dogs are a little “riskier” than something like lemonade, they helped Faulkner obtain a permit so the city “could make sure that he was serving food safely.”
Daniel Huff, environmental health director for the department, commented to ABC News:
“We wanted to be able to work with him.”
“We wanted him to do it safely, according to the city code and the health code.”
And the health department didn’t stop there!
They also put Faulkner in touch with the Northside Economic Opportunity Network, an organization that helps small businesses as they get off the ground.
“Running a business is more than just getting your permit. We wanted to provide him with that support if he wanted to be a businessman.”
“Next year, Faulkner hopes to put 25 cents from every hot dog sale toward raising awareness about youth suicide and depression, something he’s struggled with personally.— Erin Ruberry (@erinruberry) July 21, 2018
Faulkner said working at the hot dog stand has helped build his confidence.” https://t.co/bK3ww0BVvm
Faulkner also took a trip to meet Ryan Krick, the city’s supervisor of health inspections. Krick set him up with a thermometer, handwashing station and basic food training.
Faulkner would later describe Krick as “one of the nicest city members” he’s ever met to ABC Minneapolis affiliate KTSP.
This is how sensible things are supposed to go! Thank you, Minneapolis Dept of Health!!!— WideAwake&Furious (@innerspacegirl) July 21, 2018
All the health inspectors pitched in to fund Faulkner’s 10-day short-term-event permit ($87) to get him started and, once the stand passed its health inspection, Faulkner was open for business!
Have you heard about the 13-year-old the City cleared to sell hot dogs? Jaequan Faulkner’s stand at 1510 Penn Ave N is officially permitted. He plans to take his food stand on the road to serve customers at places like the 4th Precinct. Our cops stopped by to support the cause. pic.twitter.com/S6ePP6VRlZ— Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) July 18, 2018
But what about once the permit expires?
Well, the local police force has volunteered to sponsor another if Jaequan is willing to sell them some dogs outside the precinct. Huff thinks the location will be good for profits:
“I’m guessing he’s probably gonna be doing a lot of business there. I’m sure the police officers will enjoy having him doing business there.”
We first met Jaequan Faulkner and his summer hot dog stand in June. Someone complained to the city. Instead of shutting his stand down, the city of Minneapolis stepped up to help the 13-year-old get his permit. Next on @kare11. pic.twitter.com/WYKA8rqzEz— Heidi Wigdahl (@HeidiWigdahl) July 16, 2018
Now the entire community is getting behind Faulkner’s efforts!
After his 10 days outside the precinct expire, The Minneapolis Urban League has agreed to sponsor the next permit, followed by a local church.
And by that time, the summer will be over and Faulkner will be headed back to school.
Faulkner has run the stand during his free time, with the help of his uncle and cousin, since 2016. He’s glad the community has enjoyed his hot dogs as much as he’s enjoyed making them:
“The permit helps me let other people know that I’m officially ready to take care of business.”
“I don’t want to stop…It makes me feel really proud that people know what I’m doing.”
So proud of you Jaequan Faulkner! You didn’t let anything stop you from what your heart was set to do. Thank you to the city of Minneapolis for helping this young man out as well. He will surely remember it. #FutureEntrepreneur— Cynthia Hernandez (@cruizen4u) July 20, 2018
Such welcoming behavior seems strangely out of place in a world where, recently, cops were called on children for selling water bottles outside their home, but for the health inspectors helping Faulkner, it was a great time:
“You know, health inspectors are often telling people news that they don’t necessarily want to hear… It was a fun way for them to engage in the community and support Jaequan.”