Feuilly was once put in the foster care system and his case worker did not care very much. In fact, she put him with the Thenardiers and they were his first family outside of his first mother and father – if they could be called his family. It seemed to Feuilly that they were more interested in using him as a scapegoat for their crimes. He had been brought home a few times running errands for the Thenardiers and the Thenardiers would pretend the crimes he had committed were under his own discretion and promise police officers they would ‘discipline’ him. He had been very young, and so did not know that the Thenardiers were asking him to steal.
After he had been removed from their care and Mr. Mabeuf became his next case worker, he was shuffled from family to family, all of them very nice but rather distant. Ever since he had discovered that stealing was wrong, he had committed himself to making sure he paid for every extraneous thing he got. He was an early entrepreneur for this reason, selling paintings, selling photography, selling various handicrafts in general. It was difficult to earn the money to pay for all the things people gave him and many times, they told him he didn’t have to pay, but he needed to pay.
Finally, he arrived at a merit-based high school, where many of the students were rich. One, a blond boy who had been in his global history course where Feuilly spoke at length about the origins of the religious warfare in Syria, invited him out to coffee and Feuilly said no, wary of misspending his pocket money. The boy told him that they would be at Cafe Musain, if he should be so inclined to visit.
Feuilly decided that perhaps he could get away with buying a bottle of water instead and went. There, he met with all of the boy’s friends, who had such very odd names. There, he also met with Madame Hucheloup, who offered to drive him home since his home was far away. He reluctantly agreed, but offered her gas money. She refused to take it, as evidenced by her anticipation he would stick it in some unknown place in her car, and gave him money instead. She asked why he was so intent on paying her back for something she had wanted to do, and he, inexplicably as he had only told one other adult before, Mr. Mabeuf, told her the whole tale.
She hugged him. He continued to try to pay her back and she continued to refuse.
(But after a year, he asks if she would be his adoptive parent and that’s one offer she can’t refuse.)