Walking With an Ex-Bank Robber

It was a beautiful morning with the sun hung high in the sky, hinting to the prison world it was going to be a hot one.

For the morning group I decided to join a fellow RT in having our Inmate Patients walk the track in order to promote some physical activity in their day before it got too hot.

As we made our way out to the gravel track from the housing unit, a few inmates fell away in conversation with others or wandering back to their rooms. By the time we got to the track there were a total of 4 of us.

We began to walk and naturally everyone fell into their own rhythm causing the group to become spread out. I chose to walk with the last guy and engage him constructive conversation since he was to be released in just 90 days.

He is a nice man who, at age 58, is about to wrap up his 15 year sentence after being in and out of prison prior to. We began casually talking about his family and what his kids are doing in the world.

 I felt like one of those stay at home Mom’s you see in movies who walk the neighborhood in the morning with fellow neighbor Mom’s and talk about their kids.

“Oh my daughter is doing good, she actually just graduated and is now a Doctor of Sports Medicine out in New York, and my first son is about to finish his Communications degree up out in Nevada” he told me.

I enjoyed learning about his kids and how he spoke about them. I could tell he was very proud they didn’t go down the same path he did and were doing good for themselves. He shared with me that was his biggest fear was for his sons following his footsteps, his daughter he didn’t worry about too much.

I followed up with questions about his plans upon his release. He owns a house he will be going back to and has plans to go back to school to become a Drug Addiction Counselor.

“This is the last time I’ll be here. It’s time I start giving back.”

He shared a lot about his heart to mentor and work with people who are struggling with drug addiction like he once did. It’s not clear what that will look like but he knows its something he really wants to do.

He had the essence of a Grandpa. Not because of his grey hairs but by the way he carried himself.

He had this peaceful gaze that expressed his sullen past and hopeful future. 

It would take him a few years to get the certifications he needed to be a drug addiction counselor so I asked him what he would do to make money in the mean time.

“Well not robbing banks or drug dealers like used to.”

He also stated he was a “Smart bank robber” so he’ll have some money when he gets out. Apparently enough to move to one of the more expensive areas of California…I laughed at that statement.

He seemed like one of those “Good intentioned” criminals. He didn’t like to rob people or go into houses. He wanted to steal money in a way to cause the least burden on normal people.

 He figured robbing banks wouldn’t hurt too many people since it didn’t affect the customers directly and robbing the people who made money selling drugs didn’t quite strike his conscience as a bad thing.

A modern day Robin Hood I guess… sort of.

“I also have some other streams of money” he said

“Legal ones I hope…” I responded.

He chuckled and said

“Oh it’s legal, just not might be moral in your eyes”

I immediately had a guess, and low and behold I was right.

“I own a Porno Business…”

Apparently he lived in the Porno Capitol of the state. He used to work for a big movie production company and with that knowledge and experience he said the Porn Industry was an easy trade to get into and make a lot of money.

I mean I guess that’s better than robbing banks right?

It was one of those moments where I thought..

“Wow, I am in a prison walking around a track with an old man who used rob banks and now owns a Porno Company”

I never thought that’s where I would be as a 24 year old.

We neared the end of our third lap and time was up. I wished I could of carried on the conversation because I know he probably has a lot of good stories and nuggets of wisdom. Next time, I guess. I wrapped my thoughts and wished him a good day.

Needless to say, it was a nice morning walk and an interesting way to start the day.

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