Tyrone. New York City. 11.25.18
When we first sit down with the people we are interviewing we give a quick elevator speech about what Project Humanize is all about. During the introduction I mention people’s perceptions of the homeless and as I was expressing this to Tyrone, he looked at us and said “I am not surprised by what people say.”
Ironic, really, since he did nothing BUT surprise us.
You see…the thing is, we have seen Tyrone before, but we never stopped to speak to him. Alexa and I can’t recall the reason behind this, but I am sure we both regret it now.
While a large man with a boisterous voice, Tyrone’s presence is nothing but soft and full of a sense of calm. He tells us his story with no hesitation. He had a good job that he worked at for 11 years (it is no surprise to us that he received employee of the month); but unfortunately work ethic can’t guarantee that you will never get ill. Suffering from heart failure and lymphedema he was unable to work and lost his job in 2016.
You see, Tyrone didn’t focus on the fact that he was sitting in a wheelchair asking passerbys for money; instead he spent his time oozing inspiration.
“…I’m not bitter” he says “Even though I have been through a lot of stuff, I never let it change me. God gets me thru the hard days. Thank God” he continues.
“I’m gonna make it, no matter what I go thru.”
…And we are going to help you, Tyrone - no matter what WE have to do. Thank you for your positivity, it reminds us why we do what we do.