U.K. teen Jay El-Leboudy spent ten weeks after school working a job to pay for Christmas presents. He recently found out, however, that he was actually working an unpaid internship.
El-Leboudy, 15, spent two nights per week working at a local Londis convenience store to save up for presents for his friends and family, the Canterbury Times reports. However, when El-Leboudy went to collect his wages, he found out that he wouldn’t be getting paid.
El-Leboudy’s mother Zoe Buckwell said the store owners had been family friends and that an arrangement had been made between them. El-Leboudy was supposed to have worked for pay.
“He always made the effort to be there on time and worked way past 9 p.m., which was the time we agreed,” Buckwell told the Canterbury Times.
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The store’s owner, who was not identified, said that he was just following the law. Since El-Leboudy is only 15, he’s not allowed to work and not allowed in certain areas where alcohol is sold.
“I treat all my staff like family, I said he’s allowed to eat and drink whatever he likes,” the owner said. “If he turned up after school and he was hungry, I’d say he could have a coffee.”
The owner noted that when El-Leboudy turns 16, he would allow the boy to be paid.
After discovering that her son wouldn’t receive payment, Buckwell created a fundraising page to help El-Leboudy shop for Christmas. She noted that the local community has really pitched in to help replace the teen's lost wages.
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Buckwell added that her son is now looking for another job.