After he graduated, Hatcher wanted to find a job that aligned with the work-life balance he craved. He had already spent a significant time away in prison, so he was eager to land an opportunity that did not require a lot of long-distance driving.
“I’m so family oriented and I’ve been gone for a decade,” he said. “I felt like, I’ve got my license and this career’s going to be here forever. Whenever I decide to go on the road, if money gets tight and I need to go, I can go.”
Fortunately, an opportunity arose for him at a rather interesting time, with a rather interesting interview process. He received a phone call from the owner of a local, privately-owned distribution company on a Friday afternoon while washing clothes in a laundromat.
“He called me and said, ‘I saw your resume on ziprecruiter.com and I was just trying to schedule an appointment to see if we could do an interview,” Hatcher said.
The two went back-and-forth trying to arrange a time to meet over the weekend, but both had family obligations preventing them from doing so.
“I told him, ‘I’m sure you want to go to church and stuff Sunday so let’s just shoot for Monday morning. And he said, ‘You know what? I like the way you talk. Want to start Monday?’ Right over the phone. And that’s who I work for,” Hatcher smiled. “Amazing. Karma. Life is beautiful.”
Hatcher’s life has taken an extraordinary turn and he has tangible evidence to show for it. In less than a year after his release from prison, he has a new fiancé, a running start on a promising career path, and he recently closed on a beautiful home that he was able to fully furnish with his earnings.
“I went from $8.50 a month to a guaranteed $20 an hour. Guaranteed. If I’m in my profession, and I’m working local, I’m guaranteed at least $20 an hour. That’s amazing!” he said. “Just to be able to live the lifestyle I’ve been waiting to live and just enjoy the fruits of my labor, to have that [home] environment, I’m just so grateful. I’ve been thinking about it and dreaming about it for so long. It’s been a blessing. My life is amazing.”
On the horizon for Hatcher is a wedding, plans for recreational travel once his supervision period expires in the fall, and a full, grateful life, soaking up simple pleasures and trying to make a difference in the world.
“What’s crazy is people would think you get out of prison and party, make up for lost time, but I just want to barbecue. Be with my family. Just the simple things, to be able to take a shower after work, lay down in bed and watch the game,” he said. “That’s why I’m so happy. I’m at peace. It’s beautiful to me. People get blindsided by so many material things that we don’t appreciate the world around us. Life is so short, and you can’t take any of that with you. None of that matters.”
Hatcher’s story is one of overcoming—of mentally rising above the barriers, capitalizing on opportunities and digging deep to persevere. His past offense may limit some of his future career options, but his spirit and ambition cannot be contained. He realizes the gravity of his offense and has paid the price for his mistake, but now he intends to press forward, work tirelessly to chart a new course for the future, and spread some hope along the way.
“I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I was there [in prison] for a reason. I needed to learn the lessons I learned, and I came out here and basically, the only thing I ever really, truly pray for is for God to show me my purpose in life. That’s it,” Hatcher said. “I think a lot of that is just being an example to my family, trying to set a foundation, and just trying to be an inspiration and motivation to everybody. Just leave a mark in this world to where I leave it better—leave an impact, to make a change, make a difference. That’s how you live forever.”
Prospective students interested in the CDL truck driving program can find additional information on STLCC’s CDL-A Professional Truck Driving program web page. Visit STLCC’s SkillUP Missouri page to learn more about SkillUP training scholarships for short-term training programs and support services.