Photo of Teens Handcuffed for Selling Water Prompts D.C. Entrepreneur to Offer Them a Job


A viral photo of teens in handcuffs at the National Mall has led them to a new job opportunity.

Nolan White and Devin Gatewood were detained with one other young man and an adult male by U.S. Park Police at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 22, for selling bottled water without a permit, Park Police spokeswoman Anna Rose told ABC7 in a statement.

On Monday, June 26, Raymond Bell told the news station he’s training the 17-year-olds for their new summer jobs at Helping Other People Excel, after he discovered them through the viral Twitter images.

“I’m an entrepreneur myself and I love seeing young people having an interest in working for themselves,” Bell says.

Bell reached out to the teens’ parents and is now teaching them about information technology through the H.O.P.E. project. Bell founded the IT training program in 2009 to “combat the grim circumstances facing students in our communities,” including growing unemployment, according to the website.

“We hope to be bringing them on board as iPhone screen technicians here at H.O.P.E. project,” Bell, who also plans to reach out to the two other handcuffed individuals in the viral photo, tells ABC7.

Once students complete training, they’ll receive five technical certifications through Microsoft, CompTIA and Help Desk Institute.

“I feel like it was a bad situation turned into a good situation,” Gatewood says. “Because I feel like I’m progressing and finding a new way to hustle.”

“I just want to thank the guy who took the picture,” White says. “Because without him, none of these opportunities would have been possible.”

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