- A Johannesburg man has shared his story of redemption from crime
- After spending a few years in prison for stealing cars, a social worker set him on the right path
- He hasn't committed another crime ever since
A reformed Johannesburg man recently shared how a kind social worker helped him give up a life of crime.
The man, who didn't reveal his name, narrated his story on Humans of New York's Facebook page yesterday, Briefly.co.za gathered.
He said his parents died in a car accident when he was just 17 years old. With no one to support him financially anymore, he was forced to find a job as a cleaner.
However, his employer allegedly refused to pay him and treated him badly as well. Desperate, the man turned to crime:
Some of my friends were stealing cars at the time. They had a special key that could open doors. At first I didn’t want to get involved, but they were living the life I wanted. They had nice cars. They could afford to buy drinks.
He promised himself that he would join them to steal cars only once. However, that was all it took for police to arrest him. He spent several years in jail.
While in prison, he met Ms Palesa, an elderly social worker who was soon retiring.
When the man was released, Ms Palesa employed him as a handyman and cleaner. She also treated him as her own son, bought him clothes, and urged him to learn a trade.
Ms Palesa passed away soon afterwards, but the reformed man has never forgotten her. He said:
She set me on the right path. Every friend that I stole cars with that night is either dead or in jail. But I work every day, and I never committed another crime.
The story warmed the hearts of thousands of readers around the world. One commenter, Bill Vriesema, wrote:
A good reminder that we either need a "Ms. Palesa" in our life--or we should consider being a "Ms. Palesa" to someone else who needs a boost.
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