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As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Friday, May 22, 2020

sewer pipes and fluffy beds, the differences in insurance

Not all that long ago, I was driving through South Philadelphia in a fully loaded Ford Explorer, my mobile office as a driver for a five star detox/rehab.  I saw a very dark skinned man with long dreads crossing the street at my red light.  His clothes and the condition of those clothes made it clear that the street was his home.  

He had a deep smile and why shouldn’t he?  He was walking with a long time trusted friend, a woman whose clothes and general appearance suggested that her home was that of the street as well.  Her smile radiated back that she too felt good about the companion beside her.

I’ve come to know these two people  over the past couple of years as I do what I do in Kensington, a section of Philadelphia which from where this scene played out, is a very healthy walk.   

He’s a great bass guitar player.  They are both kind hearted and trapped on the streets by the barbaric procedures required of them within their Medicaid reliance to find healing if they ever hope to be free of their substance use…

And here I was, just a few blocks away from picking up a person who, about four hours earlier, had decided to enter detox and rehab so as to free himself of his substance use.

My light turned green.  I drove through the intersection, pulled over and jumped out of my five star black car.  With an atypical boldness for a suburban white guy, I shouted loud enough to be heard across the busy City street and down the half city block that was already separating this caring couple from me.  The man must have heard me right away.  He turned and saw me waving.  He immediately waved back with his dreads blowing a bit in the breeze.  She realized quickly thereafter what was happening and waved as well.

This was an inspiring and sad moment.  We waved back and forth in seeming delight at seeing each other for the first time since Covid moved to town.  The traffic pattern and our individual agendas made crossing the street for a closer greeting one to the other not practical.  

As I hopped back into my five star black car, the unfairness of the moment really hit me.  Here are three different people, all equally human and worthy of the highest dignity, honor, respect and love.  Two are heading for their favorite yet to be buried in a construction project sewer pipe or back ally to settle into and sleep for the night.  The third person who I was about to meet for the first time ever is  now in his earliest stages of a month of five star rehab being shown his room that has a large flat screen tv and firm yet fluffy bed.

The only difference between this couple on the street and this man in his room – the quality of their insurance.

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