• 21st January 2009 - By proteman

    I’m thinking of hope today. It seems that everyone is cautiously feeling it here in the States. New President. New potential.

    Yesterday I received a check in the mail for $24.00. It’s restitution from an inmate at the Florida Department of Corrections.

    Let me rewind…

    About eight years ago an electrical contractor in Florida abandoned a job on my home — with about $4000 of my down payment. I filed a report, had him tracked down and prosecuted him. They tried to settle, but this guy was a career “scammer” with a record a mile long. I worried that the next person he’d scam would be a little old lady on a fixed income. I thought it would be better to put him behind bars.

    The public defender warned me that if I pressed charges and the guy was put behind bars, I’d never see my $4000 again. On the streets, he argued, the man could earn a living and pay back his debt to me.

    I wrote off the $4000 and pressed charges. So be it. I took it as a tough lesson on working with contractors.

    I never expected to see a dime of restitution. Since that time, I’ve moved twice — clear across the country in fact. I’ve married and had a son.

    Then, in yesterday’s mail, came an envelope from The Florida Department of Corrections. And there it was, $24.00 in restitution made payable to me. I couldn’t believe it. I showed my husband and we laughed. He said to me, “That’s the way our justice system is supposed to work, when it’s at it’s best.”

    So thank you, Florida prison system, for restoring a bit of hope. For following through on your commitments. For pleasantly surprising me with your follow-through.

    There’s a business lesson here too. Little things, like following up, make a big difference.

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