Jaequan Faulkner, 13, was selling hot dogs outside his home in North Minneapolis. It’s something he began doing in 2016 to raise money for new clothes. So of course someone called the city to complain, because fuck that adorable kid and his encased meats, right? It’s a familiar story by this point. This time, however, there’s a happy ending, and wow, is that ever a breath of fresh air.
CNN reports that when the call about Faulkner’s stand came in, the Department Of Health decided maybe there was an alternative to just shutting him down. So instead of a story about another BBQ Becky or Permit Patty, we can tell you about how Jaequan is now the official owner of Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs. Per CNN:
“When I realized what it was, I said, ‘No, we’re not going to just go and shut him down’ like we would an unlicensed vendor,” Minneapolis Environmental Health Director Dan Huff said. “We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, health department staff helped train him on proper food handling, and brought him a thermometer, a utensil-cleaning station, proper containers, and everything else he needed to come up to code. He then passed a health inspection, and so inspectors paid the $87 fee to get him a special event food permit. He reopened on Monday.
That is all so nice, and there’s still more niceness. The city department of health then reached out to the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON); they’ve been helping him build the business. Ann Fix, the program manager for NEON’s food business incubator, told the Star-Tribune that she’s been “talking to him about getting a cart… The thought is to get a permanent location with primo traffic so he could sell hot dogs.”
They also helped him set up a Facebook page.
Jaequan told CNN that he loves running the stand:
“It’s the cooking and the people,” he said. “I see someone go by with a frown on their face. I’m there with a smile, then I see a smile on their face. I just made a smile on somebody’s face by selling them a hot dog.”
His current permit lasts 10 days. The police precinct sponsored his next permit, so he’ll sell hot dogs in front of their station. Future permits have been sponsored by the Urban League and a community church. After that, he’s back at school. If you’re in Minneapolis, he already has Facebook events for some of his pop-ups. This week, he’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
He’s already thinking about next year, according to the Star-Tribune, which notes that he’s hoping to put side “25 cents from every hot dog sale toward raising awareness about youth suicide and depression, something he’s struggled with personally.”
He’s nice. This is nice. Hot dogs are nice.