Yesterday I gave an update on Brian D’Apice and his 10,000-mile Bicycle Around America solo trek for charity.
Today brings the tale of another exceptional man on a very different journey.
Here in Central New York, my homeless friend James pushes a shopping cart several miles a day.
James, 49, is a survivor and a loner.
He sleeps on a bench under some trees, between the county justice center and a building designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei to house art.
A couple of weeks ago while James slept, someone stole his shopping cart. It held everything he owned except what he was wearing. James also relied on it to transport the returnable bottles and cans he redeems for a nickel apiece.
Ever resourceful, James obtained a wheeled trash toter, but it was hard to maneuver and he didn’t go far with it. Collecting returnables was difficult.
James’ informal network of supporters stepped up. They brought him clothes, gift cards, sneakers — and a replacement shopping cart.
The cart came about when a colleague of mine told a grocery store manager about James’ situation. The next day, she and her husband picked up a well-used but very functional cart.
James is back in business, making his daily rounds pushing the cart through Syracuse. His life, his journey, play out in an area no larger than a few square miles.
For a closer look at James, check out this fine video by Kevin Rivoli, a photojournalist with The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse.