Sam Richardson

Sam Richardson, Deacon
 
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me.”
 
HIS BACKGROUND: Sam was one of seven children born to William and Alice Richardson. He and his siblings – Mary, William, Louis, Alfred, Barry and Joseph David – grew up in Charleston. Sam went to Mary Ford Elementary and Shicora High School before enrolling in Winston Salem State. In 1972, after a year of college, Sam enlisted into the Navy, where he was a hospital coreman until he left the military in 1976. He was honorably discharged to Treasure Island, which introduced him to the Bay Area.
After the military, Sam finished his schooling at Cal State Hayward, earning a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in 1980. After hoping from job to job for a while, he landed a position with AC Transit as a bus driver. He did that for 14 years before being promoted to the managerial ranks.  
HIS FAMILY: Back in 1991, Sam was taking a martial arts class. The instructor also put on comedy shows and gave Sam some tickets to give away. Sam decided to offer the tickets to one of the regular riders on his route, Line 43. Her name was Leslie. She said no.
“My first impression of Sam was that he was mean,” Leslie said. “He was a no-nonsense, non-smiling, unfriendly bus driver. He was very mean I thought.”
Since Leslie passed up the comedy show offer, Sam asked for her phone number. That way, if he came across any other tickets or any such thing, he could call Leslie and give her a chance to take advantage.
This time, she said yes. But under one condition.
“She said she would give me her phone number if I came to church with her,” Sam said. “I was fine with that.”
Sam took her up on her offer. It wasn’t until he arrived at 1469 San Pablo Avenue that he realized Leslie was a fellow member of the Body of Christ. They hit it off from that moment. The couple married in 1993.
 
HIS CONVERSION: One of Sam’s buddies from the high school football team was dating a Christian. They invited Sam to a “tent meeting” – which is a gospel meeting held outside in a tent. Sam attended all week and was baptized during the meeting. He became a member at the Chomstock Church of Christ in Charleston.
 
  HIS WALK: Sam admitted he was luke warm in his early years as a Christian. Even when he moved to the Bay Area, he wasn’t as serious about his faith as he should have been.
“When did I start getting serious about Christ?” Sam asked rhetorically. “When I started getting serious about Leslie.”
Before long, Sam was doing a little bit of everything, much of it behind the scenes – where he likes it. He teaches Bible classes, serves as a youth counselor, organizes worship service, visits members of the congregation and even preaches.
 
SOMETHING YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT SAM: He coached high school sports for more than 20 years. He coached basketball at Tennyson High School in Hayward; football at Castlemont High, and football and some basketball at St. Mary’s High.