As I sat at Ruth and Somerset on the open trunked back bumper of my Nissan Altima, a man who I'd never met came up to me and shared how he had "been away for several months." He teared up as he shared with me how he had just learned that two of his closest guy friends had overdosed and died during that time.
"I don't know how that could have ever happened to them." was his summary statement with this conversation. He then turned and headed in the direction of the "Samples!" call that had been announced further down the street.
Barely a minute later, another man who I'd only met one other time some time ago was walking in the direction of the 'samples' call. He stopped to talk. And talk we did. He accepted my usual banana, water, and song sheet and then just stayed to talk. There was no particular topic… Just talk…
"I've been 'clean' for a couple months now. I heard the call for 'samples' and started to go to get one even though I knew deep down inside my heart that I didn't want one. Seven people died in a call for samples up near McPherson Square yesterday. I saw you and stopped to talk so that I wouldn't go get the sample."
In itself, that's a remarkable thought. This man used my presence on the street to keep himself from breaking his 'clean time' and potentially saving his own life.
But this moment gets better.
The first man, having retrieved his 'sample' backtracked to me, asked for a bottle of water, saw his presumably recently deceased dear friend and burst into tears that instantly and spontaneously turned into a bear hug between them that lasted at least a minute…
 This probably meant a period of time in jail.
 "Samples!" refers to an announcement on the streets that the dealers are providing for free a sample of a new batch of drug to be experienced by the consumer.
 For drinking and/or using to mix his sample