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This is the second in an occasion series covering Minnesota Legends. The stand-out Minnesotans we can be proud of. Today, a food inspector that did not shut down a teen's hot dog stand, even though that's what a neighbor wanted.

Annual Hot Dog Lunch Held For Lawmakers On Capitol Hill
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A thirteen-year-old Minnesotan, Jaequan Faulkner, wanted to make some extra money in July, 2018. So, he opened his first business; a hot dog stand selling hot-dogs, sodas, and chips in front of his Minneapolis home. Two bucks for a dog, a buck for the sodas and chips.

“My auntie always told me, ‘Can’t nobody stop you but you.’

Every good story has a hero, a villain that makes the hero necessary, and the person that could be stomped out by the steel toed boot of government. And this is a good story.


  • Jaequan Faulkner - Young businessperson in danger of being crushed by The Man.
  • Anonymous - The Villain (aka - the person who emailed a complaint.)
  • Dan Huff  - The Hero (aka - The Minnesota Legend, Minneapolis Health Department's Environmental Health Director.)

On CNBC (yes, the story went national in August of 2018!), Jaequan said, "...somebody had complained" and that's why the Minneapolis Health Department representative was standing in front of him.

You may remember 2018 as the year it seemed we were hearing a lot of stories about kids being busted for operating as an unlicensed vendor. The nefarious lemonade stand had to be stomped out for our good health.

This was probably running thru Jaequan Faulkner's head when Dan Huff was standing in front of him, saying there'd been a complaint. What he didn't know at that moment was Huff wasn't the villain. He was the hero, a legend in the making.

Jaequan and his uncle, Jerome Faulkner. (CNBC Screen Shot)
Jaequan and his uncle, Jerome Faulkner. (CNBC Screen Shot)

Instead of shutting down Faulkner's operation, the Environmental Health Director figured out a way to help. In fact, there'd been a meeting about it before he headed over to check out the dangerous and deadly hot-dog stand,

On CNBC, Huff said, “Before responding to the complaint, what we did was put on hold our response until we could figure out how to help him.” Impressed by the young man’s drive, health inspectors had decided to teach the young entrepreneur about proper food handling to assist him in getting his hot dog stand up to code.

So up to code it became, and the short term food permit? Well, the $87 for that came out of the group of inspectors that brainstormed to make this a win and not a loss.

The teen’s stand passed inspection, and it was the inspectors themselves who paid the $87 fee for his “short term food permit,” which he was granted on July 16 and when CNBC ran the story, they were selling about 150 hot dogs a day.

One last note...Faulkner told the news team...

“My auntie always told me, ‘Can’t nobody stop you but you.’ If you say ‘I can’t do that,’ well, then you just set yourself up for failure.”

PERSONAL NOTE: Obviously everyone involved in this story is awesome (minus the complainer). I give extra credit to the food inspector though because common sense and kindness seem to have departed too many government offices, and for stepping up instead of stepping on, Dan Huff is a Minnesota Legend.

Twin Cities Summer Jam Ticket Special 2021
2021 Twin Cities Summer Jam

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams Weekday from 6 - 10 AM on Y-105 FM

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