No matter how you feel about Kim Kardashian West, Wednesday afternoon was a momentous day for her and recently-freed Memphian Alice Marie Johnson.
It was the first time the two met since the reality TV star went to President Trump and urged him to set Johnson free. It was also the first time Kardashian West and Johnson were spotted together, and it was a media circus outside the usually quiet neighborhood in Southaven, Mississippi.
Media outlets and spectators lined up across the street from the women’s meeting location.
“I was just driving by headed home to run some errands and saw all the commotion,” said Charlene Kettler, one of the people in the crowd.
Johnson was released from prison last week. She was serving more than 20 years of a life sentence for a drug conviction; her first offense, before Trump commuted her sentence. Her family fought for her release for years. It was Kardashian West who brought Johnson’s story to Trump.
Since Johnson’s release, the national spotlight has shined on her story. The Memphis great-grandmother did interviews for national and local news outlets. Kardashian West shared her side of the story with CNN.
“Well, I was very excited because I had heard the story and I was not a huge Kardashian fan, but after I heard the story about what Kim did for her, it really touched my heart and I thought it was an awesome story,” said Stephanie Herrada, who waited outside the Southaven home after her husband told her what was happening.
Inside the Mississippi house, Kardashian West and Johnson seemingly had fun on Snapchat, with the reality TV star and Johnson playing with the different social media filters.
There were cheers when spectators saw the social media mogul leaving the Southaven home walking with recently freed Johnson.
“I think that what she did is very, was very, nice and out of love and kindness. I appreciate her caring for other people,” said Kettler.
Some Mid-Southerners admitted to us they were not big Kardashian West fans until hearing what she did for Johnson.
Some people who waited to catch a glimpse of the celebrity shared the hope this unlikely story will help bring about criminal justice reform.