Louisville, Kentucky — At Barry's Cheesesteaks, owner and local pastor Barry Washington greets everyone. But it's the helping hand he extends to his employees, many of whom have done jail time, that's his real mission.
"We gotta quit looking at everybody as a problem and we gotta look at a solution," he said.
Washington's latest converts are 15-year-old Sean Cathey, 16-year-old Rodney Cathey and 13-year-old DJ Cathey. He first encountered the brothers as they were throwing bottles at cars from a nearby balcony. They thought he was going to call the police. Instead, he gave them a "long, long, long" speech.
Washington told them he was no saint either. Years ago, he dealt drugs and was homeless, until prayer and the kindness of a stranger, who offered $2 for food, changed his life.
"I said, 'I want to give you a chance, teach you how to go, give you a job,'" Washington said.
Now most of the brothers' free time is spent under Washington's wing.
"I just feel like he gave us a better choice to make money. Cause some people are selling drugs, stuff like that," Rodney Cathey said. "I guess he don't wanna see us take the same route he took."