I have a young friend who has had some difficulties and now may face some court time to reflect on the choices he has made. I believe in this kid, he is really bright, very funny and could have a stellar future. He has a quite few demons he needs to exorcise so maybe some time away may be exactly what he needs. With a great deal of trepidation he came to me and asked if I would give him a character reference. I quickly agreed. The letter is below.
Of course I changed his name.
I have known Joe Smith for three years and over the course of this time I have gotten to know Joe as a bright, thoughtful and hard working young man. Yes, he has his flaws but for me they are far outweighed by his assets as a person. I am not writing this letter in any official work related capacity but as someone who has become Joe’s friend.
I have had the opportunity to watch Joe as an employee and as a leader in his department. As a supervisor in his area he is always on top if what is going on and always does what is right for the associates he is accountable and for the customer who pays his salary. When on the job he is focused on doing the right thing.
Over the past few years Joe and I have had many conversations about politics, the news of the day and most importantly his life and the choices he has made. I am old enough to be Joe’s father and in fact he refers to me as Dad because I am not afraid to have the hard conversations with him about some of his less than stellar activities. A few of these conversations have begun with me pulling him aside and saying “What the hell were you thinking? Or I suppose you were not thinking were you.”
Joe is well aware of the stupidity of his actions and fully realizes what could have happened because of them. Since this incident I have noticed a marked change in Joe. He is more humble, more willing to admit to his flaws and to learn the lessons his mistakes teach him. I truly believe he now understands that his actions have consequences and he is ready and willing to work on what it is that has caused him in the past to be so reckless.
I have seen great growth in Joe over the past few years and I can vouch for his level of maturity and understanding that his past actions have not only caused great harm to himself but could have been deadly to others. I am asking the court take into consideration the young man Joe has become and the potential for a bright future I believe he possesses when considering the legal consequences for his past actions.
Donald C. Flad Jr
After this weekend I heard a rumour that my friend may have let Dad down. I only had a brief moment today to question how he was feeling. He grinned said Fine and then tried to stare me down. I think he was expecting more of grilling but I did not have the energy. Tomorrow is a another day.
What do I do if my "son" let me down?
Did I do the right thing by writing the letter?