OLIVE BRANCH, Miss — A couple of days ago, WREG received a Facebook message that really touched us.
It came from a Telesa Wright, who was searching for a man she said held her future in his hands.
We wanted to talk to Wright about her story.
“I was 16 when I got caught the first time,” Wright said. “At one point I spent time in juvenile. I stayed there a couple of weeks.”
She said she was a teenage mom shoplifting clothes for her baby.
“I went from stealing things, like boosting and stuff, to writing a bad check,” she said.
Juvenile court then turned into criminal court in Shelby County, Tennessee where Wright kept facing Judge James C. Beasley.
“It was almost like a father-daughter relationship, because he had seen me so many times,” she said.
When Wright was 19 years old, she got charged with buying a stolen car. A felony theft charge that could land her up to six years in prison.
“He asked me, ‘What do I plan on doing with my life?’ He took a second to care I think,” she said.
Judge Beasley then told Wright jail wasn’t where she belonged.
Instead, he gave her two years of probation, and if she stayed out of trouble, he promised to wipe her record clean.
“To have the opportunity to have that removed, I decided I was going to take it and get through these two rough years,” she said.
Wright went from job to job as she cared for her kids.
She powered through that troubling and tough time.
“Every time I did something, I would think of him and think he gave me this opportunity. That was a defining moment in my life,” she said.
Almost 18 years after her record was wiped clean, Wright got married. She now has six kids, owns a successful real estate firm in Olive Branch and mentors teenage girls to keep them out of trouble.
“You have got to do the work and make sacrifices, and you will see it in the long run,” she said.
All this time though, Wright kept thinking about that man who gave her a second chance.
She’s been looking for the now-retired judge for quite some time.
So, she reached out to WREG on Facebook hoping an interview with us would get him to come forward.
“If I saw him, I would give him a ginormous hug!” she said.
What she didn’t know, WREG called Beasley and were there to see the reunion unfold.
The two exchanged hugs as tears fell.
“I know what you were up against. I know the people you had around you that were going to be an influence to you,” Beasley told her. “I thank you for doing what you`ve done and for making it. That makes our system down there work.”
It was evident, their reunion was truly special.
“You are part of our forever story,” Wright told him.
“You will be a part of mine. That makes me feel like I did some good while I was down there,” he responded.