BRUNSWICK, Ga. - One-time gang member Kevin Smith never thought he would be in the spotlight, much less be labeled an "inspiration."
Once associated with the Bloods, the Brunswick native has turned his life around and is now being hailed as a good Samaritan after cellphone footage captured him jumping out of a car to save a total stranger's life in his hometown.
"When you give people a chance to express who they really are, no matter how they've been labeled, you'll see who they really are," Smith told News4Jax.
It wasn’t long after wrapping up a car detailing job, the former certified nurse assistant came to a red light and noticed a man, not far away, hanging out of his car. Without hesitation, Smith made a U-turn, knowing he might be able to help.
"The first thing in my mind is you should go help this guy,” Smith said. "I didn't know if he was high, but I didn't care about his race or personal issues. The man wasn’t really aware of where he was."
To help revive him, Smith grabbed cold ice waters out of his truck, then put them on the man’s neck. His next step was to check for a pulse.
"I was very, very nervous, but in training, we were taught to stay calm," Smith said.
After 10 minutes, police showed up and starting tending to the man. Knowing he had to get back to work, Smith said he left not long after, but only once he knew the other driver was alright.
“I had to get back to work, but helping the man was more important,” he said. "When I was finished, I noticed I was shaking. It didn't hit you until afterward and my brother said, 'I could tell you were nervous because you were shaking all during the video.'"
Now, days later, the Glynn Academy High School alumnus is surprised he’s making the news as a positive influence.
"My cousin who is in jail for life told me he is living through me, because everything I am doing positive, it's helping,” Smith said.
Smith now spends his days running his car detailing business, producing music under the name “Kevlofinesse,” and working with local children alongside Craig Battle, coaching the Georgia Stars football team. He said it’s a life built on a troubled past that has propelled him into changing the future.
”From being released from prison, going from where I started and through my situation, I told myself I need to create my own job,” he said. “To actually go online, and have people see me doing something good, it made me feel like I am inspiring people to do better. "
It’s a feeling that Smith said was sparked by a red light in the middle of Brunswick.
"This whole situation really changed my whole output on things."
Smith said he would love to find out who that man was and see how he's doing now. Even if he never does, he's glad his actions are inspiring others.
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