Donald Hudson and Noblake Taylor met for the first time outside MobileBooth East, ten minutes before they recorded a StoryCorps interview. An appointment had opened up at the last moment, and I had invited them to fill it.
Though they had just met, they had some important things in common, including the fact that they are both homeless.
“How long have you been homeless?” Donald (L) asked Noblake (R). Noblake answered that he began living on the streets in 2002, after being incarcerated for nine years. Many of the family members he was close to have passed away.
Donald’s story is a bit different. “I had to get some eye surgery. I continuously went to see doctors and couldn’t work. I lost my job.” Donald also went through a divorce and left his house to his children and ex-wife, he said. “I’ve always told my ex-wife and my children that I would be homeless before I would allow them to suffer.”
“I respect you for stepping up like that,” Noblake told Donald.
At the end of the conversation, the men reflected on their futures. “If you could do anything in your life right now, what would you do?” Donald asked Noblake. After a few moments of reflection, Noblake answered. “I would study long, instead of study wrong.” Noblake said his proudest moment in life was when he recently earned his GED.
“What words of wisdom do you have for me?” Noblake asked Donald.
Donald said, “If you do nothing, nothing will happen. You are the environment that you live in. You change your mind, you change your life.”
“That has me pondering and wondering over here,” said Noblake. “I appreciate that because I need to be reminded of it.”
When the men left the Booth, they said they were headed to the library to make a copy of their StoryCorps CD.