The Red Ledger

Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

Water vendor job provides Dallas man opportunity to help himself, his mother

Lester+Jenkins+sells+the+cheapest+water+in+the+Fair+Park+at+the+price+of+only+two+tickets+near+the+entrance+of+the+State+Fair.+He+loves+the+job+and+plans+on+returning+every+year.
Lester Jenkins sells the cheapest water in the Fair Park at the price of only two tickets near the entrance of the State Fair. He loves the job and plans on returning every year.

Lester Jenkins sells the cheapest water in the Fair Park at the price of only two tickets near the entrance of the State Fair. He loves the job and plans on returning every year.

Grace Nguyen

Grace Nguyen

Lester Jenkins sells the cheapest water in the Fair Park at the price of only two tickets near the entrance of the State Fair. He loves the job and plans on returning every year.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






If he’s “bein’ honest,” Lester Jenkins has been on the streets of Dallas since he was 15, and he needed money.

Needed money after his car wreck. Needed money after losing his job when Johnson Brothers Moving Company moved out of state. And especially needed money to “head on and get a better wheelchair” for his 89-year-old mom, because “the things she really needs, the check don’t cover.”  


Walking around, Lester noticed “a ‘lotta people down there” that one day at the Martin Luther King Center, lining up to fill out applications.

“What’s the commotion?” Lester Jenkins asked no one in particular.

“Well, they’re hiring at Fair Park,” someone in the crowd responded.

Well, Lester Jenkins was “lookin’ for a job,” lookin’ for money, too.  And after filling out an application, making sure “you been clean,” and completing a background check, Lester was hired at the State Fair of Texas.

For the 24 days the Fair is open, Lester will work with plenty of other “guys who’ve been in trouble,” homeless people, and panhandlers who were given a chance to work just like he was.

“You’ve got a ‘lotta guys out here livin’ in shelters and everything that are willing to work,” Lester said. “[The fair] give[s] back to the community.”


Surrounded by Big Tex refillable kids’ cups, Lester stands behind a metal, white-painted vendor stand, arms outstretched with a bottle of ice cold water in each hand.

He sells water for only two coupons, the cheapest water at the fair, and with a gold-toothed grin as he shouts:

“Cold water! Only two tickets! Ice cold water right here!” He puts emphasis on the two and makes eye contact with every fair-goer walking past the Chevrolet Main Stage. Only two tickets. Compared to the eight-ticket water on the Midway, it’s a steal.

“Meetin’ people, talking to people, makin’ people laugh and having fun” are at the top of Lester’s list of  “best parts of the job.” He knows “people like to be treated with respect,” that’s why every order of two-coupon water ends with a “thank you” or “you’re welcome.”

“You learn to be more responsible, and you push yourself to do a lot of things,” Lester said. “You watch people, [and] people watch you.”

“You got people all over the world come here” to the State Fair, and Lester hopes to give just about all of them an ice cold bottle of water as soon as they walk through the front gates.

It’s his first year working at Fair Park, but Lester already knows he’ll be back because the State Fair is “just a ‘lotta fun.”

“It’s just good.”

“It really is great.”

“It’s just awesome, man.”

“I’ll come back next year and next year and next year, and before you know it, I’ll be comin’ back here in a wheelchair, you know what I’m sayin’?”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Writer
Kelsey Carroll, Section Editor

The fact that junior Kelsey Carroll owns and frequently wears 12 pairs of “Harry Potter” themed socks basically sums her up. She believes there’s no way anyone can ever own enough crazy socks (no matter the occasion), and there’s definitely no way anyone can love “Harry Potter” more than she does. Outside of school, Kelsey can often be found sitting on her bed editing photos until her laptop battery dies, which is her signal to start doing homework. Before the school day even begins, Kelsey spends her early mornings swimming countless laps until second period starts. She’s constantly surrounded by music, as Kelsey never takes out her earbuds- except when she’s practicing the cello or ukulele. Kelsey will never get tired of taking photos at football games on the sidelines no matter how many field goals and touchdowns she sees through the lens. Although she’s pretty soft spoken, Kelsey hopes to put her many words into writing as she continues to write for The Red Ledger this school year. Kelsey can’t wait to tackle her roles as community editor, photographer, and social media editor during her third year on staff.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

The Red Ledger values the opinion of its readers and encourages them to discuss its content. All comments are subject to approval by The Red Ledger staff. The Red Ledger does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Comments are reviewed as often as possible. Comments with inappropriate content will not be published. Once submitted, comments become the property of The Red Ledger. To see our full Comment Policy, visit https://www.theredledger.net/about-us/policies/

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Faces of the Fair: Jerry Diaz

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Column: Fair and fried

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Column: Fairly safe

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Photo Gallery: Animals of the fair

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Photo Gallery: 2018 Texas Auto Show

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Leopard Look: Big Tex

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Trick or treat on the Midway

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    A rollercoaster of emotions

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Column: Rising up and being let down

  • Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins

    State Fair Preview

    Photo Gallery: State Fair of Texas

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School
Faces of the Fair: Lester Jenkins