Jacob Robinson won't remember July 11 as the day he started his first job as a delivery driver.
The 16-year-old Myrtle Beach student figured it would be the perfect way to spend the summer before his junior year.
That didn't happen.
Halfway through his first shift for Doc's Delivery, he stopped to ask for directions from a group of people at about 9:30 p.m. A stranger threw a Roman candle into Robinson's car.
The firework exploded, and Robinson's shirt, partly in flames, stuck to his skin, which caused third-degree burns on his back, arm and buttocks.
Robinson and his mother, Tammy Bennett, were flown that night to Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., because there are no burn centers in South Carolina. Zach Smith, Robinson's stepfather, followed by car.
Robinson was at the burn center for 10 days.
“One of the worst parts was not being able to do anything but lay there,” Robinson said. “It was really painful. All the staples, the surgery – it all hurt a lot.”
While Robinson was being treated in Augusta, Marcus Rush, 24, was arrested, and charged with assault and battery with intent to kill.
Rush is a former football, basketball and baseball star at Myrtle Beach High School. He was released on bail July 16 and has to wear a tracking device.
Robinson and his family are staying in touch with the prosecutor's office and with victims' advocates, waiting for the case to come to trial.
“It seems unfair that (Rush) spent less time in jail than I spent in the hospital,” Robinson said.
Although Smith said the doctors are amazed at how fast Robinson is healing, the teen said there are some things he doesn't understand.
“I'm pretty careful about who I stop and talk to now and I ride around with the windows up. I mean, why didn't he help me? Why did he run away when he saw that I was being burned?” said Robinson.
Smith hopes in time Robinson's emotional wounds will heal as well as his physical ones.
“There is a reason why you survive,” Smith said. “You can build on those experiences.”
Some things are returning to normal.
Robinson started school with all of his friends and is trying to transfer to the Academy for Technology and Academics to study automotive technology. He is driving around town in his beloved Acura and hanging out with friends.
Robinson even has a new job.
“He's working at a bowling alley in a building next to where his mom works,” Smith said. “He likes it. And she likes it because he's closer to her, so she worries a little less.”
Both parents still worry about what the long-term effects of the incident will be on Robinson.
“He's a kind, trusting and wonderful person. We just are scared that he will change. He's still so good-hearted. We're hoping it won't be an issue,” Bennett said.