Cornealious 'Mike' Anderson III made a stupid mistake when he was 22 -- he took part in the robbery of a Burger King with a BB gun and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. But while he waited to be taken to prison and even called and reminded officials that he was supposed to be serving time, a clerical error kept Mike from actually spending a single day behind bars.
Did he take advantage of this fact and use it as an opportunity to get himself into even more trouble? Nope -- instead, he turned his life around.
Despite all the good he has done, the now 37-year-old father of four was arrested just a few weeks ago and told he'd have to serve his sentence after all. But a judge recently decided to throw out that decision and gave Mike the greatest gift of all: freedom.
After Mike was convicted of robbery, he started his own construction business, fell in love and got married, and is now raising three children of his own and a stepchild. He coaches his son's youth football team and is a devoted member of his church.
I'm not suggesting Mike is a hero for not resorting to a continued life of crime, but let's be serious: how many people would see an accidental "get out of jail free card" as an opportunity to test their luck and find out how much more they can get away with? Mike went above and beyond to create a new life for himself and his family. When a SWAT team descended upon his house a few weeks ago and arrested him in front of his toddler, they were essentially locking up a reformed convict who had learned his lesson without spending time locked up.
What a waste of energy, time, and taxpayers' money.
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Mike never ran from his troubles. It sounds like he made every effort to try and remind officials that he was supposed to serve a 13-year sentence. And he is leading a respectable and honest life. For these reasons, a judge decided this week to FINALLY dismiss his case and grant him true freedom.
Instead of dwelling on the fact that he didn't serve prison time, we should focus on the fact that he has transformed himself into a role model for all young men who have gotten themselves into trouble with the law. And this alone is worth the gift of freedom.
Do you agree with the judge's ruling that Mike should be a free man or do you think he should serve his prison sentence?
Image via Change.org