The Life of a Hustler

HOUSTON – Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “hustler” as having been associated with: “to quickly move or push (someone) often in a rough way; to move or work in a quick and energetic way or to play a sport with a lot of energy and effort.”

To that regard, Curtis James Jackson, III known as “50 Cent” to the Hip Hop community made a statement in regards to hustling. He stated that, “Some people are born with very little; some are fortunate enough to have it all. When I grew up, we didn’t have much. I had to hustle to get what I wanted… but I had that hunger for more. I didn’t always make the right choices, but I learned from my mistakes.”

Much like the well-known rapper, Acres Home’s own born and bred Abron “Lucky” Hunter, III can attest to these words. Birthed as the third child out of eight to Hazel and Abron Hunter, Jr., Lucky as he is known in the “The Hood”early phases of life titled him the idiom ,“Black Sheep of the Family”; a term often associated with “an odd or disreputable member of a group, especially within a family.”

He attended Mabel Wesley Elementary School and M.C. Williams Middle School. Although he started shooting hooky in the 3rd grade, his parents did not find out until he was in the 5th grade. Though Lucky was very intelligent, he still found himself in trouble as a child. Getting away with a lot of things seemed to come easy to Lucky; undoubtably helping him to live up to the nickname “Lucky” (based from the root word, “luck” which by definition is, a force that brings good fortune or adversity). However, that “luck” did not always bring good fortune as Lucky, recalled his first time going to jail at the age of 16. Unfortunately, he ended up there for a crime that he did not commit. Yet, that would only serve to be the beginning of his lifestyle during that dispensation.

Seven years later, after living very riotous life in the streets he ended up in the penitentiary. He stayed there a couple of years and then got out. But at this point in his life he already began to become accustomed to the “street life” and as luck would have it, Lucky ended up in the penitentiary again in 1978. While, most of the time that he served in the prison was done in solitary confinement; when he wasn’t in his cell, he was out in the fields picking cotton, corn, weeds and things of that sort (but that was also done in solitary). Lucky described solitary as being a place that was dark 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Throughout his sentence, Lucky was transferred from unit to unit, he vividly recalls being at the Retrieve Unit, now known as the Wayne Scott Unit in Angleton. It was during that time that he remembers being one of the youngest “on the block”. About three years after being in the Goree Unit (a unit for first convicts), Lucky begin to realize that there had to be a better way. Some years before then, he had already paid for a GED at Texas Southern University. But, he had a GED and still couldn’t read or write. Nonetheless, he had made up in his mind that this small disability would not serve to be a handicap to him. Accordingly, he taught himself to read, write and do legal work while in solitary. Shortly thereafter he started going to college in prison.

One skill that Lucky always had was that he was good in Math. This skill would prove to be beneficial as he later got into the Craft shop. He was into this work from 1981 – 1984 at the Goree Unit. From there he would go on to play sports and exercise. It wasn’t until he went to school to become a Certified Computer Technician, that he realized that he had a niche in the Computer Industry. Lucky revealed that he was, “transferred from the Jester III Unit in Fort Bend to the Clemens Unit in Brazoria.” Over the course of his 15-year stretch of serving time in prison, he would acquire more skills, gifts and talents that would serve to assist him with making better choices and decisions once he was released. He became a bookkeeper, this role labeled him as the “Go To” person in prison, because back then he explained, “many officers stole and they used him to ‘cook the books’”. It was while on the Clemens Unit that he earned his Barber’s license, an honor that he is very proud of; because “that was a very hard test”, Lucky said during an interview. He reminisced that it was after taking and passing that test, that he really knew he could pass a test.

As time went on, Lucky would gain a reputation from mentoring other youth that would come into the units that he was on. Of all the faces and people that he remembers he called out three names that he can never forget: John Morgan, Dante and Randolph (although Randolph, “Randy” has been in prison for 40 years, Lucky makes it a point to look after him). He taught them how to do craft among many other resourceful things that he had learned while imprisoned. After serving a hard yet eventful decade and a half away from family and friends, Lucky was finally released in 1993. However, upon his release he had already made a vow to himself that he would not get caught up, ‘in the game’ the same way he did before he left. So with the same street hustle that he used before he went to prison, he used that same adrenaline and hustle to maneuver through his sentence while making positive footsteps and images in the lives of others. Lucky knew that his release had to be the beginning of a new era and time in his life. But with a, “wrap sheet”, 15-year sentence behind him and $200 in his hands, what was a hustler to do? So he just decided to turn his street hustle into a business hustle. Thus, he started working at a barbershop in Acres Home located on Little York and Shepherd, he worked there for six months. From there he began working with his oldest daughter Drachan “Candi” Johnson at a shop on West Montgomery and DePriest. After leaving there, he moved to another shop for eight months. After which he met a young lady named Glenda Caldwell. He explained that he and Glenda really helped each other out. At that time, Glenda owned a group home for girls and he quit cutting hair; and started working for her by: managing the money,  doing all the plumbing work and electrical work. In addition to helping Glenda out he still did other odd jobs to help out in the home and made sure the bills were paid. He made reference to the fact that he and Glenda remained loyal friends to one another until her demise.

Moving forward, Lucky knew that if he truly wanted to make decent money that he had to work for himself. He had already made a vow not to go back to his old lifestyle; but that he would take the same drive and implement it into something that was more beneficial for him. So as the years went on he would go on to do many jobs such as: car repairs, hot shot work and other jobs. Going from hustling in the streets to legally doing business, Lucky had already obtained a CDL from a Truck Driving School (Richway) at the Port of Houston. So in 2001, he purchased his very first 18-wheeler, two years after that he bought another one and the same another two years after that. Hence, Hunter’s Trucking emerged. Today he is the owner and operator of Hunter’s Trucking, which hauls pipe, lumber, bricks or anything in the commercial truck driving industry that can be hauled. He said that, “Being a business owner and working for myself, I have no headaches or worries.” Lucky remains grateful for his wife of 14 years Shawn Hunter who has been very instrumental in his life as well as the birthing of Hunter’s Trucking. She is his dispatcher and office manager.

Once being a crab in the bucket himself, Lucky said, “I look back over my life and know that I could have done a lot of things better, but I chose the path that I chose.” However, he does not dwell on those things which he can not change. Insomuch that he consciously moves forward and tries his best to encourage the youth that he comes in contact with today that there is a better way. He informed that, “I now know that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and motivation to get from point A to point B.”

Therefore, in regards to the youth of today, Lucky stated that, “Kids today don’t really apply themselves the way they should and oftentimes this leads to the road of destruction.” He continued, “It is really important that children get their education because that street and hustle mentality will only grant you two options – a trip to the penitentiary or an early grave; it’s no in between.” As the interview went on Lucky continually emphasized the urgency of the youth of today getting an education and knowing what it is that they want to do in life. He also said that, “Parents must realize the ultimate responsibility rests in their hands in helping to ensure that their children reach their full potential.” “We must discipline our children, because if we don’t law enforcement will – I have seen it too many times” he added. Lucky went on to explain that he tried his best to discipline his own children because he knew what the world outside of home, school and church was like.

Lucky is the proud father of three sons and three daughters: Hal Bell, Abron, IV and Dexter Johnson, Drachan “Candi” Johnson, Chandra Jarmon and Ebony  Jarmon-Williams. He has 14 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren including one who is following in his positive shadow, Robert Hart.