Goodwill Tour 2013

giving back


Traveling west in NC, Samantha was Jay’s seat partner. Recently released from NC correctional facility, she was on her way to visit a friend in Hickory.

Mother of Tony (2) and Iyana (7), she’s in the midst of a custody battle with Joe, Tony’s father. There was no mention of Iyana’s father.

She’s bright, engaging and hopes to find her way into secretarial work, unless, she emphasized, a sugar daddy appears first. She’s currently interested on a Jets player she met at a Starbucks in Manhattan and is mourning the loss of her most recent boyfriend who “dumped” her when she was in prison.

Relationships are hard for Samantha. The man she most cares about has left her. The father of her son Tony desperately wants her back in his life (she shared the letter he wrote to her with Jay). As she explained, she was sleeping with Tony’s father, but they were never dating. She seemed genuinely off put by the fact that he wanted her to be part of his and Tony’s family when it was obvious to her that livinWP_20130624_001g together for several months and having a son together wasn’t a commitment. When asked what she would like to do 10 years from now, she noted that she would prefer other people take care of her kids so she could “do her own thing.”

While petite, attractive, intelligent, and charming, Samantha’s gifts have been eclipsed by a seeming life-long series of poor choices. Using cocaine while driving is what landed her in prison, but she had eight additional counts that were added to that charge, resulting in a 90-day sentence. She had at least one other incarceration, spending 22 days in Louisiana jail because she did not pay a $65 traffic ticket and then was picked up for another violation. The Louisiana jail term was extended to 22 days bc Katrina hit, all prisoners were moved to another facility, and the system would only allow prisoners to be released back to the jail they came from. It took 22 days for the New Orleans jail to reopen so Samantha could be released.

That said, Samantha denied offers to help and was genuinely grateful when Jay purchased her some snacks from the vending machine at the Greensboro bus stop. She was wonderfully free of blame shifting — no mention of bad luck, poor parenting, or the system. Samantha accepted the hand she had been dealt, even the three weeks of jail time triggered by a hurricane and inept bureaucrats.

It is amazing how a truly talented person could end up with in such a dark, sad place. Samantha, it was a joy to meet you, and you’ll be in our prayers.


One comment on “Samantha

  1. M
    June 25, 2013

    I sat behind Jay and Samantha, and it seemed they were laughing the entire ride. Samantha is a joyous person, despite all else. I first noticed her when at the Raleigh station Jay mentioned something about two female prison guards dropping someone off. Looking up, I saw two rather large uniformed women, laughing hysterically along with their petite and smiling parolee. I didn’t get to know Samantha, but I sure got to hear her laugh.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2013 by in People we met.

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