Jacob Maclin was in and out of jail for drug and gang-related crimes so often, you could use his police mugshots to make a time-lapse video of him aging.
After 10 years, the District Attorney’s office had had enough—they wanted to see if Maclin could break out of this cycle of crime.
So they set him up for a coffee with his arch-enemy—police officer Ray Robakowski.
Except they didn’t tell Maclin that’s what he was doing: they said it was a job interview.
Robakowski and Maclin had a long history, and they didn’t exactly like each other. The police officer only went to the meeting because his boss told him to.
The two Milwaukee men spent the meeting glaring at each other.
Robakowski didn’t have much hope that Maclin could turn his life around, and was sure he’d soon be putting him back in jail.
“You’re going to screw up and I’m gonna find you and put you back,” said Robakowski in an interview with CBS.
But Maclin proved him wrong. “I’m glad he changed his mind,” he said. He convinced Robakowski that he wanted to get a job and so the police officer decided to help him. “He sent me on maybe 14 or 15 interviews in two weeks,” said Maclin.
One of them was with Community Warehouse.
The Community Warehouse home-improvement store is a lifeline for ex-convicts. The non-profit gives them a job and teaches them valuable employment skills.
Maclin was hired and after eight years on the job, he is now a part of the management team. Not only that—he also now has a family of four children and is determined to teach his kids well so they don’t end up in the same situation he found himself in.
He’s incredibly thankful to Robakowski for helping him. “I’m grateful, very, very, very, very … oh, man, very …” he said with a tear in his eye.
But that’s not the end of the story.
In an unpredictable twist of fate, Robakowski retired from the police force a few years ago but still wanted to work. So who did he turn to while seeking employment?
None other than his former arch-nemesis, Maclin. “Now he held the cards,” laughed Robakowski.
Through Community Warehouse and his friendship with Maclin, Robakowski has helped more than a dozen ex-cons.
Both men are unrecognizable from when they first clashed all those years ago.
When Maclin was asked if Robakowski was a different person than he was years ago, Maclin laughed: “Oh, definitely!”
Both Maclin and Robakowski are truly living proof that sometimes, by building or rebuilding trust, your biggest enemies can become your greatest friends.
Watch the heart-warming story below: