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It was January 9, 2010 and cold outside. I was in my car at my apartment complex waiting for my friend and co worker of 10 years to get home. We lived in the same complex. It was Friday and I started my vacation and it was also my birthday weekend. We left at the same time around 10 p.m. he stopped to get some Gin and I was waiting for him. While waiting 2 cops walked up from the rear of my car and shined the light on me and I rolled the window down. They asked if I have heard about the robberies going on in the neighborhood and I said no. I was still in my uniform. It’s brown and is for a delivery company. I told them that I lived in the building across the street. They asked what I was doing sitting in my car? I told them where my friend lived and his name and said it’s it’s too cold to wait on his porch. They asked for my I.D. so I gave it to them. I had my Para Trooper Plate on my car and he asked how long I was in the Army so I told him. He then leans in my car to hand me my license back and says it smells like weed in my car. I told him that’s funny cause I don’t smoke because I drive for a living and get random drug test and if I get in an accident I get drug tested. He saw a bottle of unopened amsterdam in the backseat and a cup of juice I had in my cup holder. He said he can search my car now because of the cup. I told it does not have any liquor in it. He said it’s still an open container. He then told me to get out of my car so he can search it or we can wait for the dogs. I said I’ll wait. My friend pulls up and sees the cops at my car. He walks up and ask what was up? The cop ask his name and where he lives. He gives the cop his I.D. The cop tells him to go inside or he will be arrested for interfering  with a police investigation. So he tells me the dogs are coming and to get out or he will remove me from my car himself. I get out he searches me and finds a 20$ sack of coke and searches my car and finds nothing.               He is so proud of the big time bust and told me if I tell him where the “Big Timer” was I got that from he would let me go at the police station. So I go to jail that night and get released on O.R. I go back to work a week later because I was starting vacation the day of arrest. About three weeks later I go to court and plead guilty to cocaine possession I get sentenced 3 years probation. A Driver at work learned of my arrest, printed out my mug shot and showed it to my supervisors. So I lose my job of 10 years. I lose my car and my apartment. I violate probation because I can’t find a job while on probation. I go to jail for 180 days I get out in November of 2010. I’m homeless and jobless and by April 2011 and I move to California. My cousin sent me money for a bus ticket and said he can get me a job. I get to Cali and they do a background check and can’t hire me. So now I’m still in Cali homeless and jobless this is May 2013. I have filled out over 300 applications I go to interviews and I know I am qualified until they check my Background. Even McDonalds does checks now. I have all of the applications I have filled out and their rejections. This is ridiculous I’ve had a job since I was 15. I worked at Publix for 3 years, U.S. ARMY 4 years and Delivered parcels for 10 years. I know what I did was a mistake and have learned from it. I don’t think that because of a $20 mistake I should be banned from living a meaningful life as a human being. The only thing I have not tried yet is selling drugs or robbing people but who knows I’m tired of being optimistic.

User story by Will in Florida

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