"A permanent fixture of Wallingford"
Today, Dec. 24th, 2010, I received a new name.
After struggling for fifteen months with panhandlers, dope dealers and threats on my life at least weekly, one customer gave me this name.
He came up three times Christmas Eve and said to me, well, you have been here a long time now and I want to tell you, you are a part of our community and I welcome you to our family.
You are a permanent fixture of Wallingford.
I replied, "Thank you, Sir," as my eyes filled with tears, "You are the first person to acknowledge me with such kind words here. I will frame them forever."
He replied no, you can spend the ten dollars any way you want to. That is your Christmas present.
I told him I would frame those words in my heart forever and I would buy a frame with those words to put on my desk someday.
I want all my customers to know how much I have gained since being there [in Wallingford] permanently. I care about you, your children and your neighborhood, and most of all I care about my place to sell Real Change.
This homeless newspaper gives me a hand up, not a hand out.
I have braved the rain, snow, and yes, even the sun, until I almost couldn't stand it another day.
I went hungry, I cried silent tears as you passed me by to help someone else. I never cursed you or disrespected you. I prayed for you.
I prayed for you when you bought my paper, prayed you would buy it the next time if you passed me, and I always pray over my turf before I set up my papers every day.
My prayers were answered as this was truly the best Christmas of my entire life.
May God continue his blessings on all of us and the great city of Wallingford.