Thursday, January 13, 2005

Working With Convicts II

When I worked at a truckstop in Florida several years ago, we employed some convicts who were on a work-release program at the state prison where they were incarcerated. Some of them were good employees. I previously mentioned that some of the convicts were better employees than some of the free people who lived in the area. But I didn't go into a lot of detail about some of the more interesting characters.

There was one who was in for killing a fellow. The fellow was running around with his girlfriend. He stopped it. Killed him with a washing machine. This convict was a big fellow. A big fellow. He beat the guy up, including hitting him with a washing machine. You ever tried to pick up a washing machine? Hell, it takes me a while to walk it away from the wall in the laundry room. This guy picked one up and hit the fellow with it. Then he picked the guy up and stuffed him into the washing machine. Then he threw the washing machine down a hill. He ended up serving time for that. But, whatever other facts about the case existed caused him to qualify for work-release. And he worked for us. The pre-hire polygraph confirmed what he had done, but also confirmed it was a crime of passion. And he really came across as a gentle soul. Think Michael Clarke Duncan from "The Green Mile." Anyway, we hired him. And there was no way I would ever get between him and any girl he took a shine too. And we didn't work him upstairs in the trucker laundry area.

Another convict was named George Jones. That was him real name. He wasn't related to the country singer. I don't' think. He didn't think so, either. Anyway, I don't recall what he was in for. But I liked him. He was a good worker and seemed to genuinely care about people. He wasn't a suck-up or anything like that. But he always worked hard. He told me that he had four brothers and all of them were named "George." Naturally, I asked him how they knew which one his mother was calling. He said it usually didn't matter, but if it did, she'd use their last name. Now I couldn't swear that what he told me was true, but I could swear that he told me.

There were lots of others that worked during the years I was there that I thought were really interesting folks. And, most of the time, there was at least one on the property. Sometimes several.

Just like you and me, truck drivers will occasionally lock their keys in their vehicle. That's always embarrassing, especially for someone who makes his living with his vehicle. But it happens. And I remember that drivers would sometimes ask if we could help open his locked truck. We usually referred them to the garage, because they are the people who know the most about trucks. But, the garage wasn't always open. Most of the time, it was. And for emergencies, we could open the garage, but on some nights, after midnight, it was closed. Well, when a driver needs to get into his truck after midnight, you want to help him. So, one night, I was in the position to come up with a way of helping, but no mechanic on duty. So what to do? Seemed easy enough for me. We had convicts working there. One of them ought to know how to break into a vehicle, right? So, I rounded one up and got one of those "slim-jims" we had. Then, with the driver's permission, I asked the convict to break into the truck. And guess what? He couldn't. After a few minutes, I tried, but didn't succeed. The driver tried, and got it open. Oh, well. Live and learn.

This happened more than once. The next time, after the convict was unable to open the door, I tried. This time, I succeeded. And, it happened again. And, again, the convict was unable to unlock the door, but I was. Then, it occurred to me what the problem was. If the convict had been any good at being a thief, he might not have been caught. I, however, was better than our resident thieves at breaking into trucks. I guess, if things had been different, I could have been a car thief. I'm sure that would have been an interesting career choice. Up until I was caught in a sting operation while delivering stolen cars to Cleveland, Tennessee, then convicted, then sentenced, then raped in prison, and finally killed trying to escape.

So I'm thinking I might have made the right career decision.

Linked at Beltway Traffic Jam


  1. I know where the picture's from!!

  2. I just can't forgive that first convict that you talked about. I can understand a crime of passion, but to abuse a poor, innocent washing machine in that manner is just unthinkable...

  3. Good point. Maybe that's why he served time. Perhaps the judge said the other fellow needed killing, but felt like you about tearing up a perfectly good Kenmore.


Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy