Michael Kent never thought he would live to see the day where he got his swastika tattoos covered up – but that was before he met Tiffany Whittier.
Kent, a 38-year-old father of two, spent most of his life in a violent white supremacy group in Arizona. During his time in prison, he received two swastika tattoos to signify his views.
Then, when he got out of jail, Whittier was assigned as Kent’s probation officer.
As their time together eventually blossomed into a meaningful friendship, she talked him into taking down the neo-Nazi banners in his house and putting up smiley faces instead.
“When you wake up and see a smiley face, you’re going to go to work and you’re going to smile,” Kent told ABC News.
Many months after getting out of prison and befriending Whittier, Kent felt spurred to renounce his extremist lifestyle and get his tattoos covered up.
He underwent the 15-hour tattoo procedure earlier this week, thanks to Redemption Tattoo – an organization that helps former skinheads and neo-Nazis get their racist tattoos removed for free.
Kent now says that he works on a chicken farm with 15 other employees – and he is fine with being the only white guy in the workplace. In fact, he enjoys attending his coworkers’ quinceañeras and company parties, despite the racial difference.
And he says that it is all thanks to Whittier.
“If it wasn’t for her I would have seeped back into it. I look at her as family.”
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