By: Jai’da Blot
Richard Wright, 64, from Norwalk, Connecticut, made his way along the East Coast, making decisions that altered his life, but is now serving his share of good faith.
“I owe the world a lot,” says Wright, who works at The Hub.
Wright’s mother died when he was 6 years old, and he was shipped around by aunts and uncles through different states because they didn’t want him there.
When Wright’s mother passed away, he says he became a burden upon his father because his father was a Casanova. Wright never had a stable home and was never settled.
At age 17, Wright’s father remarried and bought a house. When he was still living there, his room became the party spot where everyone would skip class and come hang out because there were no rules.
Wright’s father sold his house and gave him $200 and a room in a rooming house. Wright didn’t know how to take care of himself but slowly learned. “I guess he thought I’d be all right and could take care of myself,” he says, “but I thought so too.”
After being on his own, Wright went into prostitution with his first girl, Margarita Rodriguez.
“I was so mad at my mother because she had passed,” says Wright. “As I got older, I thought there was something wrong with women, I just didn't have any respect for them.”
That changed when Wright had his first daughter with Rodriguez and moved from Florida to Atlanta. “She was my pacifier to what’s right,” he says.
With the need to provide for his family, Wright got a job as a busboy, while Rodriguez was pregnant because she could no longer provide for them. “140 pounds, hair down my back, long nails. I went from a successful pimp to a busboy,” says Wright.
With the money he made, he bought his first car, a Cadillac. “You know I had to buy one,” says Wright. Rodriguez swore he didn’t need it, but he insisted he did. Their daughter was only 4 months old; Rodriguez took her back to Connecticut without telling him.
“I came home one day, and she was gone,” says Wright about his daughter.
After a custody battle, Wright didn’t get his daughter back. He went back into pimping and quit his job as a busboy. “Boy was I really mad at women then,” says Wright.
The next girl was Shelly; they bought a house in Atlanta. Wright was back to pimping and starting to get greedy. Shelly met a retired police officer in Atlanta and Wright became angry when he realized they were developing something more. “He started buying her gold bracelets, and I wasn’t doing that,” says Wright.
Shelly ended up leaving Wright, similar to Rodriguez, but she came back to him saying, “he’s going to die soon; we’ll be rich, baby.”
“She gave me $5,000 that time,” says Wright. “I don’t care she's gone,”
Wright ended up moving back to Norwalk, Connecticut, and started to get things right. “I got married in Vegas,” he says. “I’m not close to the game anymore, I love my wife.”
Wright has four kids who are successful in life; two went to college, one “did their own thing,” and the last one was in the army.
Wright’s supervisor, Christopher Simmermon, says nothing but wonderful words about him. “I don’t have to worry about anything,” says Simmermon. “He’s a great guy, very knowledgeable, and pays attention to details.”
Wright’s co-worker, who works with him on the pasta line, Stevon Middlebrooks says, “He’s like a wise old man.” These two bicker in line having too much fun as they work alongside each other. “He’s a great guy and is full of information that never stops,” says Middlebrooks.
Many students such as Malaya Keene and Mélissandre Jones eat from the pasta line sometimes and love the vibes Wright gives off. “He’s so funny, and is always joking around,” says Keene. “He always hooks me up with the chicken and not just the one small scoop,” says Jones. According to Jones, “Every time he makes my pasta bowl; I know it's going to be good!”
Wright is eligible to retire next week, or he can do his full retirement to 66 and get an even better pension. “I like to work, and I love people,” says Wright.
Wright has upset many people, which is why he’s making up for it now. “I really loved people even before I was mad,” he says. “I loved making people happy because I’ve made a lot sad.”
Wright loves to spend time with his wife and can’t wait to continue after he retires. He wants to continue making people happy and paying back his dues. Though he spent a lot of time angry about the loss of his mother and his lack of care for women, he finds peace within the situation. “I owe the world a lot, and I’m going to give it back every day,” says Wright.
Forced to take care of himself at a young age led Wright down the wrong path, but he’s on the right one now.
“I owe God a lot,” he says. “I’ve been in positions where I should've died, but I didn’t; I believe God had other plans for me.”