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Roanoke restaurant owner inspires teen to pursue business degree

Keshane Williams, 18, heading to ODU in August

ROANOKE, Va. – Keshane Williams, 18, walks four miles roundtrip to work at Wokology in downtown Roanoke.

"I always wanted to start my own business," Williams said.

Williams and restaurant owner Jonathan Kelly met about six months ago when Kelly saw Williams admiring his car.

"He was, like, 'Man, what do you do for a living?' I was, like, 'I'm a businessman.' He was, like, 'Man, I want to be a businessman. I want to go to school and be in business.' I was, like, 'Yeah, man. You can do it, too. We're in southeast (Roanoke). You can get it, too.' I lived at the TAP house and the rescue mission. I was, like, 'Man, you can get it. You just have to get out there and want it,'" Kelly said.

Kelly let Williams drive his car around the block.

"Driving a Tesla, it felt good. Nobody from my area gets that opportunity every day," Williams said.

Afterward, Kelly told Williams to reach out to him if he's interested in an internship.

About two weeks ago, Williams finally reached out.

"He was, like, 'Sorry, man. I had to head to the rescue mission,'" Kelly said.

Williams told Kelly he needed a job for one month because he's going to Old Dominion University on a scholarship to get a business degree but still needs about $5,000.

He's hoping to buy a car.

ODU is one of 15 colleges Williams to which Williams was accepted.

He's the first person in his family to go to college.

"I've got three little brothers. I'm trying to show them the right way," Williams said.

"He's killin' it. He's one of the best employees," said Kelly.

A good start to a promising future.


About the Author:

Colter Anstaett

Colter Anstaett joined WSLS in January 2016 as the station’s Southside bureau reporter.

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