A teenager who unknowingly worked unpaid at a Londis corner shop for ten weeks has vowed to buy presents for children at Great Ormond Street Hospital after he was flooded with donations.
Jay El-Leboudy, 15, has received more than £2000 in donations after he was told that the hours he worked to save money for his family’s Christmas presents – was work experience.
After two weeks at the store Jay said he was given £75, but when he asked about further payment a few weeks later, he was told he was there unpaid – but could have a few hot drinks.
Jay, from Sturry, Kent, will now donate more than £1000 of the cash given to him by people moved by his story – and share gifts with children at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he was saved from paralysis as a child.
People from as far as Australia and Florida have been donating up to £100 and he has even been offered a new job delivering leaflets for the Canterbury ghost tours.
His mum, Zoe Buckwell, set up a fundraising page with a target of £30 after some Canterbury residents expressed a wish to help him out.
She said: “Jay doesn’t need that much for Christmas shopping.
“So we’ll give a thousand pounds to Catching Lives, because they were really supportive of him.
“And he wants to buy Christmas presents for the children at Great Ormand Street. But he’ll keep a bit.
“I wasn’t expecting it, it was ridiculous. When I first set up the page I had £30.
“It’s amazing how kind people have been but he doesn’t need that for Christmas shopping for his family.”
“He was at Great Ormond Street when he was little. He had a spinal defect.
“He had an operation when he was three months old, all seemed well but when he was one he woke up paralysed.
“Jay was rushed in an ambulance straight up there and they operated immediately.
“They said if he’d been another hour he would have been paralysed for life.”
“So we’ve always been amazed by them. So at least we can do something.”
The Londis shop owner, who asked not to be named, said she explained right from the start that she could not pay him because of his age.