Have you ever seen one of those videos where parents record their Kids excitement when they tell them they’re going to Disneyland? Here’s an example if you haven’t: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4S2EkSt3VI
Well imagine getting one of those reactions from an ex gang bangin stone cold killer convict. I did, and the experience was priceless.
We were in the “Hole” (you can check out my previous posts to find out more on what that is, but basically groups are ran with the inmates in cages).
This particular inmate is very knowledgable and loves to learn through research so we spent a group one day researching the net worth of certain celebrities and drug-lords. We got on the subject of a certain ex drug-lord who now is a pastor at a church.
He wanted to look up the church the man was pastoring at so we did, and I clicked on one the first things that popped up, which was the google maps picture. Now, if you’re not familiar with google maps, it allows you to view the building as if you are standing on the street (street view) and you can maneuver around the street as if you were driving on it by clicking around. It’s pretty cool because you get a 360 degree view and kind of makes you feel like you’re actually there looking at it.
Once that came up, he asked what street that was on and I told him… then he got excited. REALLY excited.
“THAT’S MY STREET! THAT’S MY STREET! THAT’S WHERE I GREW UP! I CAN PROVE IT TO YOU! LET ME PROVE IT! MOVE IT DOWN THAT WAY!”
He yelled jumping up and down in his cage with the the BIGGEST smile I’ve ever seen in a prison.
I followed his directions and he ended up bringing us to an intersection that was right by his house. On the street corner you could see the street sign for the cross section. The streets were 14th and Wood.
“THAT’S IT! THAT’S IT! THAT’S MY TATTOO, LOOK! LOOK!”
He then rolls up his arm sleeve and low and behold, right at the top of his arm in big bold tattoo ink letters there was a big 14th with the word WOOD underneath.
“SEE I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU THAT’S WHERE I GREW UP!”
Again, talking with the biggest smile on his face. I think it had been about a few decades since he’s been home. That’s why it was so special to him, because in a way it brought him home.
It’s moments like those it’s easy to forget who I’m working with. A lot of these guys have a side to them that are still little children, because they have never had someone in their life to raise that part of them. I love it when I see that side. It reminds me that no matter how convicted someone can be, they still have some part of them that’s innocent, and that’s the part of them I like to focus on , and hopefully grow.