When I was in my early twenties, I lived in Stephenville (about an hour and a half southwest of Fort Worth) and managed both of the McDonald’s in town. I met a lot of great people when I lived there, but one that has always stood out was a kid named Scott.
He was seventeen at the time and he was also one of the best employees I ever managed in my 9 1/2 year fast food career. He got to work fifteen minutes early every day for his 6am shift. He did everything that was asked of him, and did it well, and he also constantly went above and beyond what was expected. Plus, he did it all with a stellar attitude.
So, I was very surprised on the morning that his dad showed up at 5:45am instead of Scott. I was immediately filled with dread, figuring that this could mean nothing but bad news.
I learned that Scott had been arrested the night before while out with friends for carrying what was a relatively small amount of pot. During the early nineties, a small amount of weed was considered a pretty big deal, especially in the rural communities. Hell, it probably made headlines in the local paper, though I can’t recall for sure.
Naturally, I was upset. Not at Scott in particular, though, because I myself had younger days in which my judgements were not very sound. I was just lucky, I guess. I figured that this little road bump was something that Scott and his dad would get past and he could continue to come to work and all would be well.
As the trial date neared, Scott and his dad approached me about being a “character witness” at his trial. I jumped at the opportunity. Too often, kids get pigeon-holed into a certain stereotype and can never find a way around it before they eventually start to believe what everyone says about them, beginning the downward spiral.
When the trial day arrived, I showed up an hour early, looking as spiffy as ever. I also got to meet another of the people there to testify of Scott’s behalf. His name was Jackie and he was a super nice guy. An older gentleman, he had met Scott in some chemical dependency meetings. In talking with him, I found out that he had a penchant for doing crazy-ass stuff with rattlesnakes and he had also appeared in a few episodes of Chuck Norris’ ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’.
Shortly before we were to enter the courtroom, we were told that we would not be needed. Scott had pled out the case, agreeing to deferred adjudication instead. Jackie and I shook hands, had a few kind words with Scott, and went our separate ways. I never saw Jackie again… until lately, as he has been all over the news for breaking two world records, one of which was his own.
Yes, that man was the Texas Snakeman, Jackie Bibby – a friend of the Leemer.