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Alice Marie Johnson hopes to be an example that will encourage Trump to help others

Alice Johnson: "You fought until I was free"
Alice Johnson to Kim Kardashian West: "You fought until I was free" 04:12

A woman imprisoned for 21 years for her role in a cocaine distribution ring is back home in Tennessee after President Trump commuted her life sentence. Alice Marie Johnson left an Alabama prison Wednesday night and rushed into her family's arms after the president ordered her freed following a personal appeal from reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.

"It was the most incredible day of my life. The most incredible, amazing, overwhelming day -- moment of my life," Johnson told "CBS This Morning" of what it was like to get a phone call from Kardashian West informing her that she would soon be free. 

Though there are no specific plans yet, Johnson said she'll be meeting Kardashian West very soon. Johnson's message to her now? "Thank you for never giving up." 

Alice Marie Johnson and her daughter Catina Scales CBS News

The 63-year-old great grandmother was convicted in 1996 of eight criminal charges, including drug conspiracy, and money laundering. Her supporters have argued her life sentence for being a first-time, non-violent drug offender was too harsh. If Johnson had President Trump's ear, she'd make an appeal to help others in similar situations. 

"I would tell President Trump thank you so much. That I am going to be that one that is going to make you so proud and I hope that my life will encourage him to do this for others, too," Johnson said. 

The Department of Justice previously opposed Johnson's pushes for early release, citing the size and impact of the trafficking ring. Her clemency came as a surprise to some, after Mr. Trump recently said some drug dealers should get the death penalty. On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted, "Good luck to Alice Johnson. Have a wonderful life!"

"I turned my life all the way around in prison and decided that I am not going to just do time or let time do me. I'm going to make the most of this opportunity and I'm going to be of service to others because that's really what life is about," Johnson said. 

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