The Time I Hired a Former Criminal

He looked nervous and struggled to answer the question, so I asked again.

“Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a crime?”

This was one of my first interviews as a newly promoted assistant manager in 2001. The conversation was going smoothly up until that point.

He was rough around the edges, but he had a dynamic personality that would be great with my customers.

He cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and said: “Yes, I have.”

“When I was 13, I was running with a group of friends, and we got into a fight. We all got picked up and thrown in jail.”

Damnit. This was a “knockout question.”

Our company did not want to take any risk by giving people a “second chance .” He was trying to build a life and do the right thing after making a mistake as a kid.

So I told him to answer that question as a NO.

“I might get fired over this. But screw it. You have to give me your word that you will be my best employee, show up on time, do anything I ask, and give my customers the best service possible. Understood?”

I gave him the job. He was terrific with my customers, was highly coachable, and kept his word.

Six months later, I had to fire him.

Our last conversation was emotional, but he was grateful. I told him that now he can go to the following interview and show some job history. I told him to make sure to add me as a reference.

I lost track of Miguel. This was in a time before social media. He was a good kid; this was abundantly obvious in our interview. Miguel just needed a second chance, and I was glad to be able to give it to him.

Luckily I didn’t get fired. I was worried, but they must have just chalked it up to him lying on the application.

Teevee Aguirre

Teevee is an insanely funny and humble man who has traveled the world in his mind at least a dozen times since his imagination began to bloom at the tender age of 31. You can find him making a dent in the universe by sharing his lessons on parenting, marketing, manhood, relationships, leadership and whatever else tickles his fancy.