On the way to work, around 7:30 am, on board the 99 B-Line to UBC passing by 1400 block of Broadway, across the street I see a red wagon. On my breaks, sometimes I walk by the red cart still tied up on the post secured with a thick chain. On the way home, it’s still there. Monday to Friday, it appears to me it was there permanently. The content is neatly piled up. No loose ends. I wondered who owns the wagon. Maybe the furniture store, Jordan, uses it as a juxtaposition for its posh store. The carriage is right in front of the store entrance.
When it comes to reading post on WordPress, I am always curious about the selection of one of the best contents chosen in Discover written by Canadians or Filipinos. On November 2016, Ben Huberman introduced Sqwabb, a writer reporting about homeless life in Vancouver. From then on, I became one of his followers.
As it turned out, he is the owner of the red wagon. He uses it for transporting his livelihood as a binner collecting empty cans and bottles for cash. He is homeless for a variety of reasons and stays at McDonald’s restaurant next door to Jordan’s Furniture.
It took me a while to introduce myself to him because I have to tell him that I blog as well. I have this fear that he will find out that my writing is nothing in comparison to him. I felt inadequate.
Testing the water, I went to eat at McDonald’s and sat beside him. He is always deep in thought, with his eyeglasses hanging at the end of his nose staring at the computer every time I pass by McDonald’s. As I read his story, I found out he accepts care packages. Then, I put a bag for him, went to the restaurant to deliver it, tapped his shoulder, gave it to him and quickly went away without saying a word. The second time, I had a brief conversation. The third time, I finally introduced myself. His name is Stanley Q. Woodvine.
Stanley is a caring homeless person. Whatever I give him, he shares it with other homeless. Not only that, he is the voice of the homeless advocating for them on mental illness, addiction, housing, 24/7 shower and laundry access, aging and caring for a dying homeless. When another homeless’ bike was stolen, through Twitter, he raised enough money to purchase a bike for him. The media use his articles as reference materials, and The Georgia Straight newspaper publishes some of his posts. He is knowledgeable about what he writes and rightly so since he used to be one of the columnists for The Georgia Straight.
It is through Stanley, one doesn’t have to be rich to share his good fortune. It is from Stanley, I learned the nature of living on the streets breaking the stigma. It is with Stanley, I discovered how to have a meaningful dialogue in WordPress.
Being discovered, I asked him: “I couldn’t find the WordPress Discover badge on your site? Where is it?” As far as he’s concerned, setting up the badge takes time away from his livelihood. Binning is more important than the symbol.