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.
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.
Buckwell added that her son is now looking for another job.