Interview: John

Off of Hwy 63 and 2nd st SW the ramp to get on 2nd st to St Marys hospital in Rochester, MN, is where some of the Homeless go to stand to see what luck they get with money, food, conversation but in this case a smile. I saw him on the same corner as the vet, hoping I can get his story. But here to my surprise was a man holding up that sign that says. “Smile Be Happy.”

John is his name, he began his story as someone who started in one home to venture to another. He was headed to Florida and ended up staying in Minnesota. With a lot of medical issues that caused him to not be able to work he started off trying to look for food or money. Right now it is his fifth time waiting on disability, which if anyone has tried to get on disability knows it is a long and slow process. Most have to apply more then 2 times to even get approved.

With health issues and being homeless you would assume that he would drink, do drugs, smoke but he has been sober for 7 years and he doesn’t smoke, and didn’t talk about ever doing drugs. What he does have is a message about being happy.

I parked my car to talk to him and he was a very upbeat gentlemen. He shook my hand and told me that his original sign was the spaceship one, which made a lot of people laugh. But he changed the sign to be more point blank… “Be happy and smile.” I offered to buy him coffee or water, he said he preferred water and that he had plenty.

We didn’t talk about money and he never asked, I did say that I would see him again to check on him, if he still was at this corner making peoples day. Cars of all sorts of people waved and smiled as this one person continued to share an amazing message.

So if you are from Rochester go wave at him. He would except the smile and if you have something to spare, he would be grateful as well.

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