Day 125 - Ken

Day 125 - Ken (4th person I approached)
May 05, 2014 - Ken was walking towards me when I stopped him to ask if he would chat. Sometimes it’s challenging to determine the answer to the question “how long will this take?” - it really depends on the person I’m talking with.

“Sure,” said Ken, “but I only have about five minutes.”

He was out looking for a specific copy of The Province newspaper for his daughter.

“She’s doing a project at school and I need to find a story that was in the paper. It was about the woman who won the BMO Marathon this past weekend,” he said.


Ken was born in Vancouver. His father is from Hong Kong and his mother is from Shanghai, China.

“My father grew up in Vancouver. My mother grew up in Texas and Vancouver. They both went to university in Texas." I asked if they met in school. Ken laughed telling me,

“No, my father’s best friend married my mother’s best friend and they met at the wedding!” he said.

“Then when I was in Grade five, we moved to Ottawa, Ontario. I was sad at the time, but in hindsight, I think it was much better to have grown up there,” he said. Ken told me that he did well in school and had good grades. He also had a lot of fun.

“I spent a lot of my time with friends, meeting girls and enjoying ourselves, typical high school pastimes. After I finished high school I moved to Texas to attend the University of North Texas.” He studied Economics and Business for five years in Texas. 


In his second year of university, Ken started using “smack” (heroin).

“I would do it from time to time, and then not use and then go back to it. I had become friends with a guy at university who was a regular user. I did things this way throughout university. I graduated from university and went back to Ontario. I knew that I had a brain and that I could do better for myself. By the year 2000, my friend from university wasn’t doing so well. Another good friend went to Texas, he had never used before. He got some heroin from this university friend of mine and then he died. I was in Toronto at the time and I just knew that I had it in me to not go down that road. The death of my good friend just solidified that for me. It became clear that the ‘business’ world wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn't the environment for me. I decided then to move to Vancouver, and get my life together,” Ken said. I asked Ken if he would be okay with me writing about this.

“Yes, absolutely, because I’ve overcome that. I’m okay with it because I got better.”


Ken met a woman, fell in love and got married.

“I met the love of my life and couldn’t be happier. We have a beautiful daughter. She’s eight years old and we’re good buddies. (She) is a delight, and makes me so happy. I turned forty this year. I ran my first half marathon last weekend and feel great. I have a good job that I enjoy. My work schedule allows me to pick my daughter up from school every day. My life is good,” said Ken with a big smile. 

As we parted ways, we talked about Ken continuing the hunt for the newspaper.

“I just want to find a copy, cut out the article my daughter needs and then we’re done. If I don’t find a copy, I can always print it off the internet. It’s also nice to get out for a little stroll in the evening. You never know who you might encounter, when you’re just out walking.” #notastranger