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City Helps Teenager Turn Hot Dog Stand into Licensed Business

When the Minneapolis Department of Health received a complaint about an unlicensed vendor selling hot dogs, they chose to view him not as a shady lawbreaker, but as a potential entrepreneur. Thirteen-year-old Jaequan Faulkner initially started selling hot dogs as a way to earn money for clothes and shoes, borrowing the hot dog roaster from his uncle Jerome in the summer of 2016. But after a while, he began to develop a passion for it.

"It's the cooking and the people," says Faulkner. "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."

That infectious enthusiasm attracted enough attention and business that someone in the community reported his unauthorized setup to the city. But when city officials talked to Faulkner, they were so impressed with his positive attitude, they wanted to help out. Health inspectors pitched in to help Faulkner get all the training, materials, and equipment he would need to comply with city health regulations.

They even connected him to a local nonprofit designed to assist underserved entrepreneurs. Ann Fix, program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubator, had nothing but raves for Faulkner's attitude. "This young man is so full of gratitude," Fix said. "He is absolutely terrific to work with."

Potential Preaching Angles: Instead of seeing people as problems to be eliminated, gospel-centered people see others as potential vehicles for grace and redemption. We are blessed to be a blessing, and as we bear one other's burdens, we create common good.

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