CORDOVA, Tenn. — You never know when somebody’s going to walk into your life and change it forever. Actually, for this week’s WREG Pass It On Playmaker, it’s the opposite — she walked into somebody’s life and says she’ll never be the same.
We hope this story will inspire others to do the same, because if you ever doubted you could make a difference, this will prove how wrong that is.
We met playmaker Dale Parker in Cordova. One important thing to know about Dale: she loves Back Yard Burgers.
“I eat there every day practically…love their chicken sandwiches,” she said.
It’s crucial information for our story because that’s where, a year and a half ago, Jacquin Jimison first took Dale’s order and made an impression.
“I kind of started watching him because he’s got such beautiful manners and such a contagious smile. Always happy. Always pleasant. And then when I heard his background, I thought, how in the world can he have this attitude?” Dale said.
Orphaned at a young age, Jimison, as he goes by, was raised by foster parents until he graduated from Germantown High School two years ago.
He had a diploma, but not much else. He was able to walk to apply for a job at Back Yard Burgers, but only making minimum wage meant often sleeping on the floor at a friend’s place, or even in their cars.
But Dale and members at her church, Advent Presbyterian, have come through with clothes, a bicycle, and even a futon for the room he’s now renting that gives him a real address.
The boss who hired him at Back Yard Burgers helped him get a driver’s license, but now that his immediate needs are taken care of, Dale says, “He needs a car in the worst way.”
Having a car isn’t cheap, but without his own transportation, Jimison can’t qualify for Back Yard Burgers’ management training program.
“I am in my late years, but I sure want to help this kid. It’s just become a thing with me,” Dale said.
That’s the Pass It On spirit.
Richard: “So you plan to just walk in there and surprise him in the middle of his shift, huh? I think that’ll be fun to do that. I’ve got to give you $600 dollars first.”
We leave Advent Presbyterian and head a couple of blocks over to Jimison’s work off Dexter Road.
We ask for Jimison, and a minute later, here he comes.
“This is Pass It On. Hold your hand out,” Dale said, then counted out the money.
Jimison’s was in disbelief at first, but when he walked around the counter to thank his friend, he also got some free advice from Richard to “spend the money wisely.”
Jimison later found the words to explain what Dale’s support has meant.
“The fact that somebody cares and comes by who didn’t even know me, and decides to help me and believe in me, and that I can do it,” he said.
And Dale has no doubt about that.