Stories from the Alley

My wife asked me to help her do a floral install at a beautifully renovated historic wedding venue in Redlands. While I helped her finish adorning the arch with flowers and greenery, I met a few folks as they walked through the alley. One beautiful gray-haired couple strolled through. Actually, they hobbled through slowly because of ailments over the years. I took a few pics of them posing in front of the arch. They had lived in the area for decades and showed me pictures of a younger them from the 70’s. They were so happy that the alley was renovated after being a dilapidated pit stop and trash bin of transients for years.

Just minutes before I met the couple, a well-groomed but worn gentleman walked through with his bicycle and asked me a lot of questions about our business in the alley. As he went on his way, the caretaker working for the city told me that the homeless man I was talking to used to be a dentist with a successful practice just blocks away. He lost his business and his family to a drug habit just a couple of years ago. Nowadays, he wanders the streets with his bike.

This day was just a reminder to me that everyone has a story. Not all are sweet. Some are more compelling than others. Many are interesting. All have a chance for redemption.

Hearing Their Stories

My wife and I needed coffee while on the road and saw the “Around The Corner Coffee” truck parked on the side of Kamehameha Hwy. The owner, Dylan knows how to make a smooth mocha latte. He shipped his one-time surf school truck from California to Hawaii, converted it to a food truck, and is now trying carve out some success on the North Shore. This week, I have had a few great conversations with first-time encounters. I met a barber who survived 5 apartment fires as a kid in the Bronx and wants to move to Norway. I also met a former college professor from Manhattan at the market and listened to his retirement strategy. It’s great to meet people and hear their stories.