Reid began to prepare for a new life, take on leadership roles and learn new skills in prison.
“I realized the guys were going and going back to the same neighborhood, dealing with the same people, doing the same thing,” he said. “My plan was to move to a new environment, meet new people and do new things. I armed myself with knowledge.
This time he came to Alliance with a plan to do something different. In August, he will start culinary school in Cleveland. He hopes to one day have a food truck and later own a restaurant.
In the meantime, however, he said he has launched his YouTube channel “to show the guys coming out of jail who have to learn to navigate this world, how I did it.”
Her most popular video to date is her first trip to a Walmart. Just inside the door, he stops to chat with the reception. “How can I access the cereal section? ” he asks.
In the aisle, while his son is filming him, Reid exclaims, “Dude, look at all that cereal!”
He walks up to the aisle, then steps back as if to get a better view of the extent of the shelves. His son begs to buy his first box of cereal, and Reid chooses the heart-shaped Honey Nut Cheerios. Then he asks to see the flea alley.
“Can I buy a wallet here too?” He asks incredulously in the video.
What viewers don’t see is the panic attack he had at Walmart, overcome by the scale of the venue and the choices and all the bustling activity.
“It was just overwhelming, all the activity. It was just too much, ”Reid explained in an interview. “God did not give me a spirit of fear. I got dressed and went to Walmart in the middle of the day and stayed until I felt acclimated.
Viewers discover some of the serious challenges facing someone who has been kept out of society for years. Reid talks about a guy who ran into him in a Chipotle without saying anything.
“I’m trained to react in a certain way,” he said, referring to how a bump could turn into a violent altercation in prison. “This accident showed me [life outside] is going to be an adjustment, ”said Reid, adding that he still suffers from trauma after being attacked in his sleep.
In another video, he sits outside his mother’s house on a quiet morning, talking about the peace he feels in this neighborhood.
“A hummingbird flew right past me and hovered,” he said, wagging his fingers near one ear. “I was afraid to move. I need this peace.
During the course of this video, Reid grimly shares that he’s “in trouble. In prison, I was very helpful. Here I am a million. I try to adapt. I need a job. I need to do something. “
In another video, he says the last time he was employed was 20 years ago.
“For my previous residence, he supposes, did I put ‘jail?’ I have a hard time with that. On paper, I look like a threat. Who wants a violent criminal?
Commentators offer Reid encouragement, urging him not to be discouraged: “At the end of the day,” one viewer wrote, “you can be honest when you’re on the interview and you’ve made a good impression.”
Outside of the screen, Reid has the support of friends and family who cheer him on.
Donnie Gesaman, a tattoo artist who lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina, spent time with Reid, and they now talk to each other on a regular basis.
“I’ve known him at his worst and now we’re in touch again, and I see him at his best,” Gesaman said. “I don’t think there is anything he can’t accomplish.”
Reid’s son Jordan gifted his father a GoPro for his YouTube channel. The two had only seen each other once in the past 20 years.