Todd Eves is the last guy you’d expect to see cooking barbecue for hundreds of police officers.
He says he spent 13 years peddling dope.
But his life changed 15 years ago.
Eves can tell you exactly when, where and why. It was the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Ball Road. He was on his way to meet a woman at a motel “for some fun” when Officer Paul Christy pulled him over for speeding on his Honda motorcycle.
Christy found a baggy with ¾-ounces of methamphetamine. Eves begged him to let him go, promising to change his ways.
“You’re sick, and if I let you go, I wouldn’t be doing my job,” Christy told him.
“For some reason, those words – you are sick – stuck with me,” Eves said while serving his award-winning BBQ chicken, pork and beef to a line of officers at the police station this week on the anniversary of his arrest.
Christy, a 30-year veteran, recalls the traffic stop and the heart-to-heart conversation he had with Eves and hundreds of other suspects. “With some people, you can see that they are salvageable,” he said.
He saw a spark in Eves.
“It sounds like an old corny saying, but we get into policing to help people,” Christy says. “And here is that one in a million story.”
And that may be an understatement.
Eves spent much of his nine months behind bars thinking about his past – and contemplating his future.
When he got out he earned a job as a butcher at Bristol Farms. He brought some meat to another police officer who was kind to him during court proceedings. That officer was a competitive chef who loved barbecue. He invited Eves to join him in competitions.
Soon, a business was born and Eves was catering events for thousands of people, hauling his smoking equipment across California and winning competitions.
Today, his Out of This World BBQ business is booming. He’s married. And he has been off drugs since the arrest.
But he hasn’t forgotten. This is the second time he cooked for APD. He treated the department on the 10th anniversary of his arrest – and has fed dozens of other police agencies.
“I’m totally ashamed of what I did and I’m totally proud of what I’m doing,” he said.
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