Season 6

Episode 622: “Stealing Hope”

Episode 622: “Stealing Hope”
Original Air Date:April 23, 2000
Written by::Jason Jersey
Directed by:Bethany Rooney
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Ricky Pedro Balmaceda
Marshall Nathan Anderson
Shelley Taylor Stanley
Ellen Deborah Strang
Joey Alex D. Linz


Ricky Hauk has just received the news that he’s being laid off from his dead-end job as a mechanic at Al’s Gas Station. Ricky vents his frustration by writing poetry on the bathroom wall, quickly erasing it before it can be preserved for posterity. Monica is hired to take inventory at the station, and she encourages Ricky to pursue his writing. When Shelley, a local college student, arrives with her snobby boyfriend Marshall, Ricky is immediately smitten. When Marshall notices Ricky’s college hat, he accuses him of being a poseur, and the boys exchange words. As Marshall and Shelley leave, Ricky discovers Shelley dropped her school I.D.

Later, Ricky agrees to help his little brother Joey win the Invention Convention at the College. When Shelley returns to the station in search of her I.D., Ricky claims to be a student at the college. Shelley suggests he enroll in her writing class. Ricky agrees to check it out. Ricky’s mother Ellen is frustrated to find out about Ricky’s plans to take the class — they need his income to make ends meet. The next day, Ricky is resigned to apply for work at Taco Town. Instead he goes to Shelley’s class, taught by Andrew, where he sees Tess, another student. Andrew’s teaching is inspiring, but Ricky is scared off by Marshall.

Back at the station, Ricky again writes a poem on the wall. Monica offers him a blank notebook to write in, but when Ricky tries it, he has a flashback to his childhood: his father abuses him for writing on his racing form. The next time Ricky tries to attend class, Andrew catches him. Andrew agrees to let him sit in for one week, but then he must officially enroll. During class, Andrew invites Marshall to read a poem. Ricky is shocked to hear Marshall read his poem — copied from the bathroom wall. Defeated, Ricky swipes the rearview mirror from Marshall’s car. Meanwhile, Monica helps Joey finish his invention — a forgetting machine. Ricky complains to Monica about Marshall’s plagiarism. Monica tells Ricky to use it as an encouraging sign that his writing is good. Still frustrated, Ricky throws the rearview mirror in the garbage.

That night, Pearson and Smitty, friends of Ricky’s, drive up in Marshall’s stolen car. Ricky sends them away. The next day, Joey finds the last part for his invention — Marshall’s discarded rearview mirror. Ricky tells Ellen that he has been hired at Taco Town. At the convention, Joey unveils his invention. Marshall, one of the judges, recognizes the mirror and accuses Ricky of stealing his car. The men fight and when Andrew breaks it up, Ricky admits to stealing the mirror, but not his car. He also accuses Marshall of stealing his poem. Tess comes to Ricky’s defense, saying she knows who really stole the car.

In an empty classroom, Monica reveals to Ricky that she is an angel, telling him he’s put up a wall to block out the past, but this wall has also blocked out his dreams. God wants him to tear down this wall and write his words down so he can be free. Later, Andrew asks Marshall to recite the poem. Marshall can’t. Ricky, however, recites it on the spot. Ellen is moved by the poem about Ricky’s father and asks Ricky for forgiveness for remaining in an abusive situation. Ellen asks Ricky to write the poem down for her. He says he will. The angels watch as the newly restored family leaves arm in arm.

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