June 04, 2015 - Taseda & Carl
I've had people ask, on numerous occasions, "What can I do to make a difference in my community?" when it comes to strangers and connection. I can only share my own personal experiences, and will usually suggest each person has to find a way that they feel comfortable with, in order to connect with others.
I've never shared anyone else's post here on The Stranger Project. However you may recall, I occasionally like to break my own rules. This story was posted by a good friend of mine, Taseda (pictured left). Today I asked him if it would be alright to share his story here. He replied "Go for it! I think that's awesome."
It's a wonderful story that illustrates how we don't even necessarily have to go out of our way to make connections, or build friendships in our community. We may already be doing it. All we have to do, to get started is say 'Hello' and be openhearted.
2 June at 17:49
Seven years ago I moved back to Vancouver.. Carl (the other guy in the pic) would panhandle out front of my place, confined to a wheel chair from years of hard drug abuse. Always a friendly guy to chat with, we would often talk on the corner on my way home from work. He'd tell me about his day and always had a good story. For a guy with a few teeth left in his mouth due to heroin and methadone use he always had a smile on his face. I enjoyed getting to know him, and when he stopped panhandling on the corner a few years ago I figured he had finally succumbed to the demons he had been battling.
Well, thankfully life throws us a curve ball every now and then, and I'm glad I was wrong with what I figured had happened to Carl. Low and behold on my way home from work today was a familiar (but much healthier) looking face! Carl was indeed alive... and well! Two years clean and more amazing, he jumped up off his scooter and showed me he could even walk again. The last time I saw him he was a frail shell of a man, long beard and confined to a chair. Today he's still smiling but full of life. He was simply hanging out on his old corner because he missed the people and the stories. After getting over my initial excitement that he was still alive I realized I kinda missed him on the corner too. I'm so glad Carl has found purpose in his life again. It's not often in this city that we get to see someone come back from the brink. I'm proud of Carl for not giving up, and I'm thankful he stopped by his old corner to say hello.
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration in life, today, Carl was mine.