Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


August 2, 2012

GARY'S WORLD: Take time to enjoy the good in life

CROSSVILLE — As I drive along Peavine Rd. each morning during the summer, I notice the prettiest floral blooms that are among the weeds. They are a bluish lavender color and stand about a foot tall. In the morning they are in full bloom, soaking up the morning sunshine. However, in the evening, the blooms are gone and the only thing apparent is the weeds. It's hard to believe that this plant which produces the gorgeous morning flowers is nothing more than a weed.

I'm a sucker for a good news story. Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to share good news whenever I can. When I say good news, I'm not talking about a major news event, although I do like sharing those as well.

I'm referring to a news story that is good in the sense that it leaves the reader with a positive impact. A story that is simple and makes the reader think there's hope for the future. A story that makes the reader think people are still capable of doing good things.

Although the following story did not happen in our community, I can't help but feel the need to share it because somehow it gives me hope for some of our youth who have made bad choices in life and have gone down the wrong path.

Nicole Young of the Tennessean reported that Monday night in Maury County, TN a 20-year-old man, Austin Sparks, went on a bit of a crime spree and broke into five cars and stole a pickup truck. All were parked near Mt. Pleasant High School.

Sparks said he took extra change and a BlackBerry phone from the vehicles, which were all left unlocked. Then, Sparks came across a white Ford F-250 with the keys left inside.

Sparks said he took the keys, went back home and then came back to the scene about 30 minutes later and drove away in the pickup truck.

Later, Sparks went to the McDonald's restaurant in Mt. Juliet, which is two counties away, and ate a meal. After he left the McDonald's, Sparks drove to the Mt. Juliet Police station and turned himself in for the crimes.

“I’ve been with this department for eight years and I have never come across something like this, where someone has a change of heart,” said Sgt. Tyler Chandler, spokesman for the Mt. Juliet Police Department. “It is very uncommon to have someone willingly confess to crimes.”

“He walked in and told me that he had just stolen a car and it’s parked out front,” said clerk Kinnie Long. “It was shocking. He even stated that he felt bad for what he had done.”

During interviews with police officers, Sparks admitted to burglarizing other vehicles in the past.

“He told us he wanted to stop,” Chandler said. “He said while he was at the McDonald’s, he started thinking about everything he’d done and he decided that he needed to turn himself in. Hopefully, he is now on the right track in life.”

Sparks was booked into the Wilson County Jail where he is being held for the Pleasant Ridge authorities. All of the stolen items have been returned.

There's something very Mayberry-ish and charming about this story. It almost reminds me of Otis turning himself in at the jail after he gets drunk.

After the past week of reading police reports about burglaries, thefts, counterfeit bills, drugs, assaults and a garden variety of other crimes in our very own community, it was refreshing to me to read about a young man who actually felt bad for what he had done and made the decision to do the right thing and turn himself in.

It's not everyday you read or hear about a story of this nature.

Sure, it's a crime story, but it has a good moral. It offers the reader hope for the future. I hope it goes viral on the Internet.

Among the weeds a flower blossoms.

You don't have to look very hard to find good stories in everyday life. You do have to take the time to notice them, though. Don't be in such a hurry that you pass by everything so quickly that you miss the goodness of life.

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