Personal Narrative: Chad Walker

Chad Walker relocated to Maui, Hawaii from Connecticut for a new job. He didn’t have a car when he moved, so his boss gave him a motorcycle. Shortly after starting his new position, the company went out of business, and Walker’s boss never gave him the title for the bike. He was ticketed for not having the motorcycle registered or insured. The total cost for both tickets was originally about $900, but one of the tickets was dismissed after he appeared in court and provided proof of insurance. This all happened on the eve of the 2008 recession, and much like many other Americans, Walker was unemployed for a year. He struggled to make ends meet, and for a while, he was forced to steal eggs from chicken coops to feed himself. Paying his outstanding ticket was the furthest thing from his mind. In 2009, Walker secured a job and started working again. By the end of 2010, his girlfriend was expecting a child, so he shifted all of his discretionary income towards supporting his growing family.

In 2012, Walker’s Connecticut license expired, so he went to the DMV to get it renewed. During his visit, he was informed that his license was suspended because of the ticket that he hadn’t paid. After finding this out, Walker continued to drive because he didn’t have another way to get around. One day, he drove through a DUI checkpoint. He told the officer about his suspension and he let him go with a warning.

Between 2013 and 2014, a collection agency contacted Walker about getting on a payment plan to settle his outstanding ticket. The collection agency charged a 26% interest rate and the payment plan the agency offered him spanned over five years. Walker declined their offer because he wasn’t sure that he could keep up with the payments. He was trapped in one of the few jobs he could get without a license with no possibility for a promotion.

As of September 2019, Walker doesn’t know how much he owes because he misplaced the paperwork with the docket number corresponding to his case. The collection agency needs it to give him information about his file. He doesn’t know where to begin to gain relief.