“Sammy was the kind of guy who invited everyone he knew for a meal or a job, whenever he could,” said Hector Perales.
By: Melissa Williams
Hector Perales said everyone in the neighborhood knew Sam Zherka, but he personally knew and respected him as a businessman who became successful at a young age. “Sammy was the kind of guy who invited everyone he knew for a meal or a job, whenever he could,” said Perales. Perales recalls hanging out with Zherka in his office playing with his Rottweiler ‘Butchy’. “He was a tough dog, but once you got to know him, he was a teddy bear.. kind of like Sam,” Perales added. “A really rough exterior and kind of intimidating, but underneath he is a kind, giving, loving person.”
As time passed by, Perales went his own way for awhile. He ended up taking a wrong turn, started to hang out with the wrong crowd, and began to get into some trouble. Perales ended up running into Zherka, who immediately noticed he was wearing the signature beads that signified the crew he was hanging out with.
“He immediately took me to the side and asked me ‘what the hell was wrong with me’? I responded by saying ‘nothing man i’m getting my bones, my street cred.’ He looked me in the eyes with disgust, but more disappointment, than anything,” explained Perales.
“Papi, you doing the wrong thing, he said. I don’t want to see you end up in a bad situation. So listen, how about you come to the office, hang out, clean sweep, run errands for me and you’ll make a few bucks, and stay away from those losers you’ve been hanging out with,” said Perales quoting Zherka. Perales said a couple of days had gone by, and that he had continued to stay out late and get in trouble. He quickly realized Zherka might be right, so he decided to go check out his office.
Perales was about 19 at the time so his journey lead him to the world of living a straight line, and being a man who learned to stand up for what he believed in. Perales couldn’t stress enough how important it is to be a man of your word, as well as someone who can look in the mirror every single day and be proud of what they see. Perales says Zherka always taught him to be proud, whether he had $20 or $20,000, as long as you earned it the right way. Zherka also stressed that you should never take what does not belong to you, as well as never bite the hand that feeds you.