PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia woman who started a prison transportation service that connects families with their incarcerated loved ones had a major family reunion this week. Her motivation for starting the company is now a free man.
Victor Bush is about to take the test of his life. He earned his freedom.
Victor spent nearly 25 years behind bars for a slew of crimes he committed in his 20’s.
“I do regret not being there,” he said.
His daughter Kristal was 3-years-old when he went inside.
“I adjusted to my father being incarcerated,” she said. “I didn’t let it hinder me or anything like that.”
In fact, it motivated her to create Bridging the Gap LLC, a door-to-door van service that takes thousands of families to Pennsylvania state prisons to visit incarcerated loved ones. Kristal also uses her time as one of the drivers to visit brothers, cousins and others family members all behind bars.
So what did the visits and the calls from his daughter do for Victor while he was on the inside?
“It kept me alive,” he said, “put it that way.”
Daily phone calls kept Victor focused. Now’s he’s home, so is Kristal’s brother Jarvae. He was released two weeks ago.
“[Kristal] supported me through so much, even when I was on the inside, coming home, she’s been there for me.
So what has kept Kristal motivated all these years?
“I’m that bridge,” she said. “I have to keep it together.”
Now, with mom’s help, Kristal is adopting her nephew and will support her newly freed family by giving them jobs that will keep them on the outside.
“I ain’t going back,” said Jarvae. “I’m cool. It’s not worth it.”
“It’s a hard road,” Victor said. “I have to get ready to cross it.”
For Kristal, the family reunion is just the beginning.
“I was able to help them while they were incarcerated,” she said. Now this is the test.”
It’s an exam that Kristal hopes love will help her family pass with flying colors.