Teen sparks national mania after spotted reading book instead of smartphone while selling raspberries
A 13-year-old boy from Gniezno has charmed the country after being pictured selling raspberries whilst sat next to a pile of books, and in the process sparked a nationwide wave of ‘Samuelmania’.
Since profiled and interviewed by a string of radio stations, newspapers and portals, the story began innocuously at the start of August when a Twitter user by the name of Marcin Edo posted a photograph of the young lad named Samuel.
Snapped diligently reading while sitting at his raspberry stall, the picture of the teenager was accompanied by a simple caption: “8.20 a.m., and this boy is already sitting at his stand in Gnizeno, next to the Ziemowit shop on Roosvelta street.
“Day after day, he sits in the same place all day long, selling his mother’s preserves and reading books over and over again. He devours them without ever looking at a smartphone.”
The post soon gained traction. Retweeted over 1,500 times, many users were quick to heap praise on the boy.
“Such a kid needs to be supported,” wrote one. “He helps his parents and loves books – a rarity nowadays.”
Another commented: “A book is also like a smartphone, but for smart people.”
Others, however, weighed in to question if it was morally acceptable for a child to be working on the streets during the height of the summer holidays.
Within days of making the post, the original poster updated his followers: “I’m very glad that, in a completely unexpected way, I helped this boy to kickstart his family’s business a little more and help his parents – from what I hear, he hasn’t had time to read any books while ‘working’. He’s serving more and more customers non-stop.”
As it turned out, this was the calm before the storm. Returning to Twitter just two-hours later, Marcin Edo wrote: “God, what did I do… The boy was visited by Polsat News a moment ago and ran out of goods at 11 a.m.”
The boy’s story even touched the world of politics after a local councillor, Tomasz Dzionek, took to Facebook to praise him: “A child that helps his parents, earns a bit of money during the holidays and reads books is quite extraordinary. Other children just sit around looking at their tablets and smartphones non-stop and only learn what independence is after they graduate.”
Identified as Samuel, national interest grew to such an extent that, according to one portal, his family were even offered a holiday abroad.
The youngest of nine children, Samuel saved enough last year from his summer job to buy an e-scooter. This year, his target was to earn enough for an e-reader. However, after his story went viral, RMF FM stepped in to gift him one during an interview.
Brought up with no television, reading has long run deep in Samuel’s family. Speaking to one portal, his father explained: “With so many children, it was simply impossible to agree on what to watch – so we decided to get rid of the TV altogether.”
“He has a phone,” adds his father, “but not a smartphone – it’s a question of age rather than affordability, we just don’t think they’re good for children of that age.”
In place of technology, Samuel has instead become addicted to reading with his preference lying in adventure and fantasy books.
“I can’t get my son to sleep,” says his father, “he’ll stay up right until midnight reading!”
Though a little bewildered by the rash of recent attention, the family – who pick their own fruit to produce their jams and conserves – are not complaining.
Having largely eschewed modern gadgetry for so long, the recent clamour for their goods has led them to finally embrace Facebook to handle the wave of mail order enquiries that have come their way.