“I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was an alcoholic and there wasn’t a lot of food in our fridge. I started hanging out at arcades and with the wrong crowd at a young age and I made bad choices. I could have gotten a job, but I didn’t. It wasn’t my mom’s fault or anybody else’s fault. My circumstances were a bit of a catalyst for my decisions, but I don’t lay blame on anyone. There was a cop that busted me once for selling weed, but let me go and said, ‘I know you’ve got drugs, but I won’t do anything. If you don’t smarten up when you come to age, I am going to nail you’. His name was Richard and they called him Tricky Ricky because he used to go undercover and bust people. One day, when I turned 18 he busted me as I got off the ferry in Nanaimo and I ended up serving my time at Wilkinson Prison.
When I did my time in jail I was angry and fighting the system, but one day a guy showed up to talk to me. He worked for the John Howard Society and had a pony tail. He told me a story about Gulliver’s Travels. He said, ‘you are going to be like the giant who gets tied down by little people. You are young and have a criminal record. Society will be the little people who will tie you down. I will come along and put hot coals on your stomach and you will have to struggle really hard to take those coals off. You have to be amongst the 20% of people who walk out of here and never come back. When that man walked out of the room, all I could see was his pony tail swinging past the door and I had a smile on my face. That was a life changing moment for me. When I left jail I, told my mom that I needed to get away from the crowd and I moved to Calgary. I put my pride in my pocket and I got a job at a bar. I cleaned vomit, I cleaned toilets, I was a dishwasher and had every crappy job possible, but my pay cheques were honest. My money was honest and I was proud of that.”