Anthony Bosley; Uber driver and business owner

An Uber Ride With Obama Clemency Grantee Anthony Bosley

The Empire Builder rumbles into Spokane’s Amtrak station at just past midnight. Right on time. I step out into the cold black night–my first time in Spokane–and as I make my way forward and exit the train station a raucous crowd is within view outside of a local establishment. It looked and sounded like quite the shindig, and I would join them, but it is now technically Sunday morning, and I’ve got a political rally and a counterprotest to cover once the sun rises. Vancouver’s Joey Gibson, infamous for organizing Patriot Prayer protests in the western part of Washington, Portland and Berkeley, is gunning for Maria Cantwell’s senate seat, and will be appearing in Spokane Valley. Local socialist groups have organized to protest against his arrival, and their choice for a venue is outside of Spokane City Hall–roughly ten miles from where Gibson will be appearing. Not having a car, in my mind there’s only one way I can cover both of these events. Uber. I’ll have to catch an Uber from the Amtrak station to my hotel, and in the morning catch it from the motel to city hall, and, finally, to Spokane Valley and back. Not my idea of a good time, but Uber is there when you need it.

I flip open the app, punch in a few buttons, and secure my ride. I’m in luck, as it turns out, because my Uber driver, at 4.97, has an almost perfect rating.

The silver SUV listed on the app pulls up, I hop in, and I first meet Anthony Bosley.

The ride is uneventful, which is good for an Uber ride, Bosley and I shoot the breeze, I tell him that I’m here to cover the events in the morning, and that the crowd of people partying I had spied was not what I’d expected to see based on things I’d heard about Spokane.

Boswell, knowledgeable of the local scene, clues me in about the presence of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, which probably helped kickstart things this evening. We then pass a bus, emblazoned with the markings of the WSU Cougars, parked outside of a hotel. On this night, and now early morning, it was going down in downtown Spokane.

We pull up to the motel, the Tiki Lodge, and I’m not encouraged by the presence of people who appear to be loitering in the parking lot. With a 2.5 star rating, I wasn’t expecting much. I thank Bosley, who has a surprise for me. He wonders how I’m going to make it to all of my events tomorrow. Bosley then hands me his card, which reads “Bosley’s Same Day Courier Service.” He then lets me know something a little deeper.

“I’m not just a driver, I was also granted clemency by President Obama.”

Exhausted from the 8 hour train ride from Portland, I wasn’t sure what to make of this.

“My number is on the card, send me a text, we’ll work it out,” Bosley says. He also says to look him up, and that he is the real deal. Bosley added that Uber doesn’t have a problem with him securing business in this way.

Stranger things have happened, and once I make it to my motel room, I Google Bosley, and the first thing that pops up is an Inlander article and a picture of Bosley, who is in fact the real deal. I then open the Uber app, give Bosley a 5-star rating based on the ride but also because he was, in fact, telling the truth. A conversation isn’t always a part of a ride–but if it is it had better be good and truthful, and ours was both.

[pullquote]“Most people have excuses when they get out, but I got my head together because I know that what I went to prison for doesn’t define who I am.” – Anthony Bosley[/pullquote]

Once an imprisoned former drug dealer who was not scheduled to be released until 2023, Bosley, 48, had been granted clemency by President Obama in 2015, and had now turned his life around and was running his own business. Of course I was going to contact him, if the price was right. I check the price from City Hall to Spokane Valley’s Centerplace Event Center, and then shoot a text to Bosley asking him how much it would be. The number he quotes is a little cheaper than the Uber ride.

“Right on! Deal.” I text back. I’d see Bosley at City Hall in the afternoon.

Bosley was actually about ten minutes earlier than our scheduled 2.30 pm pickup time, which was great. I wouldn’t have to peel off from the protest and wait for some random driver to show up. I could count on Bosley.

A little after 2:30 pm and I hop into his SUV. We hit the highway to Spokane Valley and shoot the breeze some more, and he tells me about what lead up to this moment.

‘If you’re a hustler, then you know how to make money,” says Bosley, who adds that anyone can sell drugs, but not everyone can make money. He goes on to tell me that when you’re in that kind of a life there are only two conclusions, “You get killed, or you get locked up.”

Not wanting to succumb once again to a life of crime, and also wanting to put his ability to make money to use, he had to secure legal, gainful employment as a free man in order to provide for his wife and eight kids.

“The most important thing was not doing anything that would jeopardize my family. I refused to take any job where I’d have to be looking over my shoulder,” he explains. So he put the experience he had gained being a materials coordinator in prison to use, and initially secured a job in a warehouse. Bosley, who also says that he obtained an associates degree in human resources while in the pen, was optimistic upon his release. “Most people have excuses when they get out, but I got my head together because I know that what I went to prison for doesn’t define who I am. My bosses knew that, too. That’s why they hired me.”

Bosley says that his driving business, Bosley’s Same Day Courier Service, has been successful and that “it caused me to quit my 9-5 job.” He adds that these days he has been so busy with his business that he barely has time to drive for Uber, but that the extra money does help.

For now, Bosley says that he is just going to keep doing what he is doing, which is not completely dissimilar to his prison job, except that the materials are people.

“My motto is this: My car is your car away from home,” he says. Bosley also says that once he reaches a certain level with his driving business he plans to hire other drivers.

Due to Bosley not having an app, I can’t rate his driving five stars, but I’m here to tell you that the man is a good driver, and the conversation about his request for clemency being granted was sublime.