How a grocery store job turned this former inmate’s life around

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Anthony Jackson spent half of his life in jail. When he came out, he was determined to set his life straight, but getting a job was no easy feat.

He applied to McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food restaurants with no luck. It wasn’t until grocery store owner Jeff Brown hired him at his ShopRite in Philadelphia that Jackson found a job. At age 35, it was his first job.

The job turned Jackson’s life around. “And once I got that job, it was like, it was the turning point of my life,” Jackson told economics correspondent Paul Solman, “God kept me straight, my wife had my back and Brown gave me a chance to earn money and a living, a decent living.”

Today, Jackson is a frozen food manager and credits Brown for his transformation. When Paul asked Brown if he’d do anything for Brown and his family at the ShopRite, Jackson responded “Anything in reasoning.” He added, laughing, “As long as it don’t break the law.”

Economics correspondent Paul Solman met ex-offender Anthony Jackson while reporting on Jeff Brown’s chain of successful, family-owned supermarkets in Philadelphia’s food deserts. Tune in tonight to PBS NewsHour’s Making Sen$e segment to learn more about Brown’s successful grocery store in a Philadelphia food desert.