El Dorado, KS—Jeremy Thompson, 42, is literally moving up in life after the charges against him filed by Jacob’s Well were dropped, and they offered him one of the apartments above their store free of charge.
Thompson was discovered living under Jacob’s Well Café and Coffeehouse two weeks ago by a local electrician, and is thought to have lived there for at least six years. We were able to conduct a brief interview with him while he was taking a short break from moving his things into his new apartment.
So, Jeremy, is it true that you were under Jacob’s Well for six years?
It would have actually been my seventh anniversary next week if I hadn’t been discovered. I was 36 when it all happened; my life fell apart. I was in Jacob’s Well thinking about things, and I noticed the trap door in the floor. I hid in the bathroom that day until all of the staff were gone, and then crawled down through the trap door to check it out.
What was it like under there?
I don’t think anyone had been down there in a while, and it was very dry, so I thought it would be a good place to spend a couple days and probably not get caught. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and I guess now it’s been almost seven years.
How did you survive?
I would come up at night and take small amounts of food from their refrigerators. Always small quantities, so they wouldn’t miss it. I even did a little bit of baking every once in awhile, but mostly lived off of chocolate chip cookies and cold turkey and bacon paninis. Every couple days I would leave early in the morning and then come back in like a normal customer. I would take just enough money out of their register to pay for my meal when I came back in—I never took more money than that.
Tell us about the charges filed against you and what led to them being dropped
Well, I didn’t expect Jacob’s Well to drop the charges. After all, I was trespassing, stealing their food, stealing their money, and using their wifi on their iPad register thing at night. Apparently the owner got a lot of negative feedback from people who were really compassionate towards my situation, and that must have led to a change of heart for him.
Is it awkward that you will be living upstairs now?
Well, it was a little awkward when they kicked out that nice marriage and family therapist who occupied the apartment before me, but other than that—no, not really. Jacob’s Well has been my home for years, the only difference is that now everyone is okay with it.
What are your plans now?
The owner of Jacob’s Well and I have a meeting set up to talk about some possible employment opportunities, and I was thinking about going back to school.