It was one of those surprising, emotional videos that makes the rounds on social media: a judge from Miami recognized the man standing before her on burglary charges as a childhood friend.
“Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?” Judge Mindy Glazer asked an orange-clad Arthur Booth in the 2015 video.
“Oh my goodness,” a surprised Booth said over and over. The defendant smiled as he realized he was standing before his old classmate, then broke down in tears.
“This was the nicest kid in middle school,” the judge told the court, “he was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened.”
As Booth’s family later told The Daily Mail, the reunion was so difficult for him because it reminded Booth of how he had wasted his potential.
Once an honor roll student who taught himself Spanish, they said Booth’s drug addiction led him to drop out of school in the 11th grade.
After that, he fell into a life of petty crime to support his habit, and spent nearly half of his adult life behind bars.
“If it had not been for Arthur’s addictions to gambling and drugs he would not be where he is,” his cousin Melissa told the news website.
“That has been his downfall. He is not a violent person and has not hurt anyone but to feed his addictions he always needed money and it was easier to steal.”
At the time, Booth’s family said they hoped the unlikely reunion with Glazer would be “a wake up call” that reminded him he was meant for better things. Years later, in another emotional reunion, they got the happy ending they hoped for.
A year after their fateful encounter, and after 10 months spent behind bars following a guilty plea to burglary and grand theft, Booth met Glazer again under better terms.
He celebrated his release into a drug treatment program with the judge, who warned him to stay on the straight and narrow from now on.
“Take care of your family. Try to get a job. Stay clean,” she urged. “You’re going to do something good for somebody else.”
“She’s an inspiration and a motivation to me right now,” Booth told CBS Miami about his old friend.
“Mindy is incredible. Cause I know where I could’ve been, but I’m not giving up on life.”
In a weird twist, Glazer’s run-in with Booth wasn’t the last time she recognized a defendant. Courtroom cameras also caught the surprising moment Glazer realized she had been on a cruise vacation with defendant Ahlon Devante Glenn just days earlier.
“What were you on the Breeze?” she asked.
“Yes, yes!” he said. “You were on the cruise this weekend that just past? You didn’t see me dancing? I was the one dancing all the time.”