Arthur Booth faced burglary charges when he had his bond hearing in a Florida courtroom. He appeared before Judge Mindy Glazer, whom he initially didn’t recognize. As the hearing progressed, Glazer realized she had met Booth years earlier when they were children. When she looked up from her papers, Glazer had one question for Booth.
Glazer asked Booth if he attended Nautilus Middle School, and before he could answer, he broke down in tears. The heartwarming moment went viral, and the two were both shocked to see each other in that setting. Booth and Glazer reunited after he served his time, and their story might bring you to tears.
Arrested in Florida
In 2015, Arthur Booth was spotted driving a gold Honda Accord that matched the description of one involved in a robbery. When officers signaled for Booth to pull over, he refused to stop, causing a police chase. He ran through stop signs and caused two accidents before crashing the car.
Booth tried to flee on foot, but officers caught him shortly after. Upon arrest, he was charged with several counts of burglary, grand theft, reckless driving, leaving the scene of the crash, fleeing from an officer, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest with violence. He was brought to the county jail and had to appear in court.
Booth appeared before Judge Mindy Glazer in Miami-Dade bond court so she could determine his bail. Initially, he seemed annoyed and angry. His arms were crossed, and he had a stern look on his face as Glazer looked through the report. The trial was no different than others she had seen before.
Booth had been to prison several times before, so he was used to the court process. He looked at Glazer without fear, assuming the trial would end, and he would return to jail. However, that was not the case. When Glazer looked up from her papers, her expression changed.
She Recognized Him
As Glazer stared at him, she said, “I have one question for you. Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?” Booth’s expression quickly changed. He said, “Oh my goodness. I’m so embarrassed,” before breaking down in tears. At that moment, he realized who he was standing in front of.
Everyone in the courtroom was confused, not understanding why Glazer would ask that. Booth, who previously stood with confidence, was overcome with emotion and bowed his head. He realized the judge was an old acquaintance from grade school. Booth couldn’t believe this was how they would meet again and continued to cry.
A Connection From the Past
Although Booth was 49 at the time of his arrest, he and Glazer had met decades earlier when they attended the same middle school. Glazer said she was sorry to see Booth in her courtroom. She had always wondered what happened to him, describing him as “the best kid in middle school.”
Glazer and Booth used to play football together and were good friends. Booth continued to cry because he couldn’t believe what was happening. More than 35 years earlier, he had a much different life. Booth was like most kids who had dreams of doing something with their lives.
He Was Bright Kid
Booth hoped to have a successful future. His outstanding abilities in math and science made him one of the best students in school. In the ‘70s, Nautilus Middle School was considered one of the most prestigious schools in Miami, so his academic achievements were highly regarded.
Booth was chosen to attend Nautilus because of his outstanding grades at William Brent Elementary School. His parents were proud of their son’s success, and he set a good example for his younger siblings. Booth had dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon one day.
He Could Have Gone Far
As a student, Booth taught himself Spanish and broke through stereotypes based on his background. He came from a poorer family, traveling for an hour by bus to get to school. He earned honors and graduated at the top of his class. Many thought he would go far.
Booth was destined for greatness, making it that much more disappointing when Glazer saw him in her courtroom. Glazer said she also had ambitions and thought she would become a veterinarian but admitted that was nothing compared to Booth because he was the best student.
She Didn’t Understand
When Glazer last saw Booth, he seemed to have a bright future in front of him. Therefore, she didn’t understand how he had gotten into his situation. As she explained this, Booth couldn’t contain his emotions. It might have hit him that his life was not where he thought it would be.
Glazer thought Booth would have gone to college and worked to get a good job. It appeared that she was trying to understand where he had taken a wrong turn. How could this great student have a long arrest record and have served several prison sentences?
Booth’s sister said he became addicted to gambling when he was 17. It started with him playing cards for small change, but the stakes got bigger and bigger. He didn’t have enough money and hung around the wrong people. Booth acquired a lot of debt from gambling.
His debt caused him to struggle with anxiety and depression. Booth didn’t know how to get out of his situation. He was in despair and had no one to turn to because he didn’t want to disappoint his family. They were always so proud.
He Tried to Cope
Instead of trying to pay off his debts, Booth turned to drugs to cope with his problems. Like any other addiction, he went on a downward spiral because he couldn’t regain control. Booth needed money to gamble and buy drugs, so he did whatever he had to do to get it.
Booth turned to theft to get money to feed his addictions. He went from being an honor student to serving time behind bars. Money makes people do crazy things, and Booth couldn’t stop himself from stealing it.
He Couldn’t Help Himself
Booth’s family said money and drugs took over his life. He didn’t have a job, so stealing was the only way to get money. Booth would break into warehouses or empty homes, but he was never violent with anyone. He was at the hand of his addictions.
He spent months in prison after being arrested for possession at least three times. Booth couldn’t help himself and distanced himself from his family. He was on a bad path and didn’t want to accept help. No one could make him change but himself.
Two Different Paths
In 1988, Booth was sentenced to 20 years for burglary and theft charges at age 22. He spent ten years behind bars before being released on parole. Meanwhile, Glazer was on a much different path. She graduated from the University of Miami and prepared for law school.
Glazer studied law at St. Thomas University, graduating with a specialization in tax law. In 1991, she was admitted to the Florida Bar and started her own practice. After talking to her cousin, a defense attorney in New York, Glazer was inspired to become a lawyer.
She Became a Judge
While Booth was in and out of jail, Glazer was navigating her career. She initially wanted to focus on criminal tax litigation but found estate planning much more interesting. Glazer worked as a lawyer for nearly a decade before she was elected to the circuit court in 2000.
She and Booth might have found common ground as students, but that changed as they became adults. Around the time Glazer became a judge, he went on the run for two months after fleeing from work detail. Booth was later caught at a Miami Heat basketball game.
He Knew What He Was Doing
While catching up with a childhood friend is usually a fun trip down memory lane, this encounter was very different. Glazer asked Booth if he knew what he was doing was wrong and if the charges he confessed to were correct as part of the court proceeding.
Booth was too embarrassed to look at Glazer during this part. He kept his head low and stood with his eyes downcast. The chance meeting with Glazer reminded him of his past and how very different his life could have been.
Reality Hit Him
Reality hit Booth when Glazer set his bail at $43,000 and one year in jail. He kept rubbing his head in disbelief, but he knew that would be the punishment for his crimes. As the proceeding came to a close, Glazer had some parting words for her former classmate.
Glazer said, “I really hope you can turn your life around. It really hurts me to see you here. I have the best memories of you. Just think about what I told you. It’s up to you to change things. Good luck to you, sir.”
She Wished Him Well
Before Booth was escorted out of the courtroom, Glazer said, “I hope you are able to come out of this okay and live a lawful life.” Booth wiped his tears away and thanked Glazer and left with the officers. Many thought that was where their story would end.
Booth went back to prison to serve his sentence, but the experience gave him many things to think about. His year-long sentence was enough for Booth to think about where his life could have gone and what he would do when he got out of jail.
A Wake-Up Call
Booth’s family said he spent almost half of his adult life behind bars. They hoped the reunion with Glazer would be the wake-up call he needed to turn his life around. His family had tried to help him many times, but Booth didn’t want to change his ways.
They wanted Booth to start his life over and make something of himself. Many family members feared his addictions and crime sprees would put him in an early grave. The meeting between Booth and Glazer gave them faith that he could rehabilitate himself.
He Did His Time
Booth served his sentence and was released two months early for good behavior. During his time in jail, he read books and became interested in studying business. He had already lost his dream once and didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
He previously dreamed about becoming a surgeon. However, it would be difficult for Booth to achieve that goal at 50. Since he had already missed out on his dreams once, he didn’t want to let go of his goals a second time. Booth knew this was his second chance.
They Meet Again
When Booth was released, a familiar face was waiting for him. Glazer stood by Booth’s family as he walked out of jail. Once again, he was overcome with emotion and hugged her. He wanted to personally thank her for what she had said to him in court ten months earlier.
Glazer told him, “Take care of your family. Try to get a job and stay clean. You’re going to do something good for somebody else.” Booth promised her he would take her advice and change his life. She had faith that he would stick to his word.
He Was Thankful
Booth was so thankful for Glazer. He said, “She’s an inspiration and a motivation to me right now. Mindy is incredible. I know where I could have been, but I’m not giving up on life. It’s just a new lease on life for me now.”
Glazer said it was a group effort to see him succeed. She wanted to give him a chance to improve his life. Booth also felt he owed a lot to his lawyer and the prosecutor because they saw that he could be rehabilitated.
He Kept His Promise
Booth kept his word and made a huge change in his life. He started taking classes to further his education and quit gambling and drugs. Within five years of his release, Booth worked his way to become a manager at a pharmaceutical company.
Booth wanted to do something with himself because he knew he was better than the life he had lived for many years. It was a hard journey to get there, but Booth proved he could turn his life around and become the man everyone thought he would be.
Living a Better Life
Today, Booth has all the luxuries he needs. Although he once struggled for money because he couldn’t stop gambling, he now had enough to travel and buy a home. Booth voluntarily underwent treatment to help with his addictions and never wants to return to prison.
Booth and Glazer are still in touch, and he is grateful that fate brought him to her courtroom. If it wasn’t for her, he might have gone back to his old ways once he was out of jail. She gave him the sign he needed to make a real change.
A Lesson Learned
The meeting of the former classmates shows that every choice and decision we make determines who we will become and what path we will take in life. Booth and Glazer came from similar backgrounds but made different life choices.
When Glazer realized she knew Booth, it made her think about how she could help him. She knew he was a good man and wanted to see him succeed. Although Glazer set his bail at $43,000, she hoped that the one-year sentence would give him time to change his ways.
An Unfortunate System
Booth spent most of his life in and out of jail because he couldn’t get a handle on his addictions. However, his life might have been different if he had been offered rehabilitation through the system earlier. Booth lost many rights when he went to jail for the first time.
He couldn’t pass a background check for employment or housing and lost the right to receive public assistance. It put Booth back on the path to stealing again because he had no other means to get money. The system kept him in a negative cycle.
Not an Easy Transition
Each time Booth was released from prison, he had trouble getting back on his feet. Like many former inmates, life after prison comes with many challenges. It took Booth several arrests to finally get on the right path because someone gave him another chance.
Many former inmates wish to have another chance at life to get an education and find a job. It takes a lot of hard work and determination for released prisoners to stay out of jail. Dave Dahl and Mike Massey are examples of people who found success after prison, like Booth.
He Fell Into the System
When Dave Dahl was a teenager, he started hanging out with the wrong people and began using drugs. Instead of focusing on school, he dropped out because his addictions were stronger than his will to stay on a good path. Since he needed money, Dahl turned to petty crime.
Dahl spent nearly two decades in and out of jail for various offenses, including burglary. In between his sentences, he tried to change his life by working at his family bakery. However, he always fell back into a life of crime.
He Needed to Change
Dahl was disappointed with how his life turned out. He became determined to stay out of prison upon his release in 2000. He rejoined his brother at the family bakery, deciding he would stick with the job and make a better life for himself.
Dahl found a passion for baking bread and developed a cornmeal-encrusted loaf that he sold at a local farmer’s market. It made him realize that he had the opportunity to break the cycle he had been in for 15 years. Dahl wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away.
Using His Story to Inspire Others
Dahl decided to name his bread business “Dave’s Killer Bread.” As the company expanded past farmer’s markets, he didn’t hide his past. Dahl was open about his story of incarceration and rehabilitation. When the company launched, he included his story on the packaging.
Dahl fought with his marketing team to include the story because he wanted it to inspire others who might be struggling. His team feared it would turn off customers, but many people embraced the bread and Dahl’s story. The business quickly gained more attention.
Customers not only enjoyed Dahl’s bread, but they also liked the story behind it. Dave’s Killer Bread quickly grew from 25 to 300 employees, and Dahl made sure to use his business to give back. He knew how hard it was to get a job after prison, so he wanted to help others.
Dahl made sure his company employed former felons because he knew the struggles of life after prison. He wanted to help people because he wished someone would have given him that chance after his release.
The Past Doesn’t Define You
The website for Dave’s Killer Bread states, “We have witnessed first-hand that someone’s past does not define their future, and that sometimes giving someone a chance is all they need to become a Good Seed.” A third of Dahl’s staff were ex-cons, and they kept that tradition alive.
Even when Dahl sold more than half his company in 2012, he ensured the company still employed former inmates. Dahl didn’t want to give up his chance to help other people like him. He stepped down from his role in the business, but he didn’t stop his mission.
Providing Valuable Resources
In 2015, Dahl sold Dave’s Killer Bread for $275 million. He wanted to continue helping documented convicts, so he invested his money in Nucleos, a start-up dedicated to providing resources and rehabilitation to those incarcerated by the American Criminal Justice System.
The company provides credential education and training programs to inmates to have a better future when released. Dahl hopes it will help reform the system. He wants inmates to have the same experience he did because a class made him realize he could build a future.
Staying True to the Story
Although Dahl sold the company in 2015, Dave’s Killer Bread has stayed true to his story. In 2017, the company partnered with San Quentin State Prison to launch the Second Chance Project. The program aims to provide people with training and resources to turn their lives around.
Dave’s Killer Bread opened a prison-themed pop-up in Toronto to raise further awareness. Visitors could listen to inmates tell their stories on prison-style phones. The proceeds from the pop-up went to two local organizations that brought the arts to impoverished neighborhoods.
Changing the System
Although it was hard for Booth and Dahl to turn their lives around, the system has started to change in recent years. More businesses are hiring former inmates to help them stay out of prison. The government has also slowly started to create programs to help felons re-enter society.
When people go to jail, they are often stuck with that reputation long after release. It makes it hard to move on with their lives. But giving them the tools and opportunities to improve themselves can positively impact their futures.