Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:00 PM
Liberal_in_LA (38,077 posts)
Surgeon and homeless inventor team up to create survival pod
(Full article explains how Williams became homeless, was sleeping in a dumpster, woke to being beaten)
Homeless inventor, generous doctor are pod-ners in helping others
As Williams was about to undergo surgery, Chen heard him chatting with the operating room technician about the nanometer range on the laser. During a post-op visit, doctor and patient discussed Williams' inventions — among them tiny cameras that peer into the heart and joints — and his latest big idea.
It had come to him while he was holed up in the dumpster. The lidded container, which Williams had lined with cardboard, had provided his only privacy. He envisioned a humane alternative: molded, durable survival pods that could be used for housing after disasters or to get the homeless off the streets.
It wasn't long before Chen called Williams at the shelter and invited him to breakfast. During that meal at McDonald's, the doctor said something that stunned Williams: "Let's do it," Chen said. The pod partnership was on.
Then they sat together, sipping coffee. "It was unbelievable solace and peace," Williams said.
Chen said: "You can't just take from society. You have to give back. I see lots of patients, from rich people to poor ones. I could see, 'He's OK.' I believe in him."
Chen helped Williams secure a small apartment; the doctor pays the $1,000 monthly rent. He also took Williams to Macy's, picking out leather dress shoes and a charcoal-colored suit.
And although Chen never said a word about Williams' scraggly beard, he did pinch it firmly one day between his thumb and forefinger — and tugged.
Williams is now clean-shaven. He works out each morning at the apartment complex gym. He has an army of street friends; he made them turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving, and soup and pasta salad at Christmas.
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