Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Chris Hernandez tells a story about disability:

Many years ago I arrested a well-known dope dealer, “Sammy”, in the small town where I worked. Sammy was in his early twenties, tall and thin, and could have been an Olympic sprinter. He had outrun almost every officer on the department. Several times I had turned corners and encountered him by chance; he would immediately sprint for the nearest fence, vault over it in a second and be out of sight before I could even call it out on the radio. And Sammy wasn’t just fast, he was cunning. Maybe not book smart, but street smart. Smart enough to sell a lot of drugs and almost never get caught.

One day we were notified Sammy had a felony probation violation warrant. That’s nice, I thought. Unfortunately we’ll never catch him. But a couple of nights later I turned a corner, and there he was. He saw me, the escape reflex kicked in, he started to step off into a sprint. Then he apparently realized, I don’t have any crack on me, so he just stood there. He didn’t know he had a warrant.

I pulled up beside him, threw the car in park, jumped out and grabbed him. He was shocked. He went to jail without a fight.

At the jail I asked him standard questions for the arrest blotter. Address, phone number, next of kin, and so on. When I got to “occupation”, I jokingly asked, “Hey Sammy, what kind of work do you do?”

Sammy answered, “I get disability checks a month!”

I remember giving him a curious look. I knew he was an unemployed dope dealer, and I was just being a smartass when I asked the question. I also didn’t understand what the hell he was trying to say.


“I get disability checks a month!”

Very slowly, I asked, “Are you saying you get disability checks every month?”

He answered, “Yuh!”

“Sammy, you are the fastest human being on earth. You’re in better shape than most professional athletes. What’s your disability?”

“I can’t work!” he blurted. “I can’t get along with the boss man. My lawyer got me disability.”

That conversation was, to say the least, illuminating. I had no idea someone could receive disability just because they’re too undisciplined to work.


  1. Wobbly says:

    I’ve heard of that before. A close family member falls into this category: He gets disability cheques and free housing from the NZ govt for being unemployable. For the sake of any possible co-workers this is a fine idea.

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