I Am Honest

“I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was an alcoholic and there wasn’t a lot of food in our fridge. I started hanging out at arcades and with the wrong crowd at a young age and I made bad choices. I could have gotten a job, but I didn’t. It wasn’t my mom’s fault or anybody else’s fault. My circumstances were a bit of a catalyst for my decisions, but I don’t lay blame on anyone. There was a cop that busted me once for selling weed, but let me go and said, ‘I know you’ve got drugs, but I won’t do anything. If you don’t smarten up when you come to age, I am going to nail you’. His name was Richard and they called him Tricky Ricky because he used to go undercover and bust people. One day, when I turned 18, he busted me as I got off the ferry in Nanaimo and I ended up serving my time at Wilkinson Prison.

When I did my time in jail I was angry and fighting the system, but one day a guy showed up to talk to me. He worked for the John Howard Society and had a ponytail. He told me a story about Gulliver’s Travels. He said, ‘You are going to be like the giant who gets tied down by little people. You are young and have a criminal record. Society will be the little people who will tie you down. I will come along and put hot coals on your stomach and you will have to struggle really hard to take those coals off. You have to be amongst the 20% of people who walk out of here and never come back. When that man walked out of the room, all I could see was his ponytail swinging past the door and I had a smile on my face. That was a life-changing moment for me. When I left jail I, told my mom that I needed to get away from the crowd and I moved to Calgary. I put my pride in my pocket and I got a job at a bar. I cleaned vomit, I cleaned toilets, I was a dishwasher and had every crappy job possible, but my paycheques were honest. My money was honest and I was proud of that.

I started with nothing and a criminal record. I don’t hide it, I am not embarrassed. I am not ashamed of where I came from. If anything, it made me stronger. When I was young, my Grandma used to tell me, ‘You have such gifts. If you could just use it for something legal.’ She was such a nice lady, she used to have a huge yard and would pay me to pick the weeds and do some work on it. Sometimes I would sit by her veranda to smoke weed and read comics. She would often come out in her bathrobe and yell, ‘Duane, get a move on!’

In my late twenties, I saw an ad in the Bargain Finder that people were renting their trucks for hauling stuff. I had a 1979 Chevy and decided to do the same. I used to haul a lot of garbage and I had a lot of Kraft Dinner and cheap meals. Six years later, I got myself a bigger truck and started helping people move and do deliveries. My Grandma was so happy when I called her one day to tell her that I had started my own business and had called it ‘Get A Move On’. Her mouth just about dropped from disbelief. I had difficult days and put in hard work, but it paid off. You get out of life what you put into life. I’ve had my business for 20 years now. I have clients that call me back because they know I am honest and fair and I never hide the fact that I have a criminal record. Just because you went to jail, it does not mean you are a bad person. As a human being you deserve a second chance. I give people second chances and I am more than happy to share my story hoping that, in the end, it touches somebody and helps them find the proper path. I now have a boat on the Shuswap lake and I take my dad fishing. I feel good about myself and feel accomplished. It is nice to have material things, but that is not what really matters. I always say, you only answer to one person in your life, and that is the person you see in the mirror when you brush your teeth. It is a good feeling when I look in the mirror. And that’s what counts.”