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@humansofny Humans of New York New York City, one story at a time. Currently sharing stories from people in quarantine.
@humansofny

Name: Humans of New York
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New York City, one story at a time. Currently sharing stories from people in quarantine.

Showing Media For User @humansofny



  • “Whenever I asked her about it, there’d be a lot of pain on her face. She’d look stricken almost. As if I’d brought up some tragedy. I assumed the worst. I thought rape, or some awful thing. So I just stopped asking, and I grew up without knowing anything about my father. But toward the end of her life, I sat with her in the nursing home. I told her: ‘You’ve been the perfect mother. You did everything right. I have no complaints. But this might be the last time I can ask you, so I’d like to know: ‘What happened with my father?’ And she told me this story. About a whirlwind romance with a Venezuelan computer scientist, who spoke several languages, and swept her off her feet, and then revealed he had a wife. To be honest—I didn’t believe it. It just didn’t seem scandalous enough to keep hidden for all those years. And my mom had developed dementia, so I just assumed it was a story she was telling herself. After her death, I uploaded my DNA to Ancestry-- but found nothing interesting. I resigned myself to never knowing. Until last summer, when I finally got a match for a ‘first cousin.’ I sent the woman a message and told her everything I knew. The details matched up. And she confirmed my father was her uncle: Pedro Lance Machado. Then she gave me the most wonderful news: I had six living brothers and sisters. They called me one-by one. None of the conversations were awkward. And they all asked the same thing: ‘When’s the soonest we can meet?’ They flew from all over to celebrate my 51st birthday. They brought all their old photos of my father. We rented a house. One of my sisters cooked ceviche and paella. We played Latin music. We told stories. I was never made to feel like an interloper. They never made me feel like anything but a gift. Overnight, I went from an only child, to a member of the most beautiful family.” #quarantinestories

    “Whenever I asked her about it, there’d be a lot of pain on her face. She’d look stricken almost. As if I’d brought up some tragedy. I assumed the worst. I thought rape, or some awful thing. So I just stopped asking, and I grew up without knowing anything about my father. But toward the end of her life, I sat with her in the nursing home. I told her: ‘You’ve been the perfect mother. You did everything right. I have no complaints. But this might be the last time I can ask you, so I’d like to know: ‘What happened with my father?’ And she told me this story. About a whirlwind romance with a Venezuelan computer scientist, who spoke several languages, and swept her off her feet, and then revealed he had a wife. To be honest—I didn’t believe it. It just didn’t seem scandalous enough to keep hidden for all those years. And my mom had developed dementia, so I just assumed it was a story she was telling herself. After her death, I uploaded my DNA to Ancestry-- but found nothing interesting. I resigned myself to never knowing. Until last summer, when I finally got a match for a ‘first cousin.’ I sent the woman a message and told her everything I knew. The details matched up. And she confirmed my father was her uncle: Pedro Lance Machado. Then she gave me the most wonderful news: I had six living brothers and sisters. They called me one-by one. None of the conversations were awkward. And they all asked the same thing: ‘When’s the soonest we can meet?’ They flew from all over to celebrate my 51st birthday. They brought all their old photos of my father. We rented a house. One of my sisters cooked ceviche and paella. We played Latin music. We told stories. I was never made to feel like an interloper. They never made me feel like anything but a gift. Overnight, I went from an only child, to a member of the most beautiful family.” #quarantinestories

  • “After my father graduated from medical school, he decided to open an office in a small agricultural community called Coalinga. Both his parents were Mexican immigrants, and he wanted to give back by working in an underserved community. There’s 16,000 people in that town— these are the people who pick the lettuce, and the cotton, and the fruit. I used to love visiting him at work when I was a kid. I can picture him wearing a lab coat, holding a chart, and people thanking him. They’d bring him bags of almonds and onions. He’d keep saying: ‘De nada, de nada, de nada.’ Dad always looks at the ground when he’s being thanked. That’s how humble he is. He went to Stanford, but he doesn’t even hang his graduation certificate in his office. When he comes home from work, he’ll do the jobs around the house that nobody else wants to do. He cleans out the garage. He washes the dishes. He doesn’t drive an expensive car. He doesn’t wear fancy clothes. His favorite things to wear are T-shirts and sweatshirts from our school athletic teams. Both my sister and I played collegiate sports. And he was our biggest fan. Every weekend for eight years, he’d drive to Los Angeles to watch us compete. And my sister was a rower-- so those races were only eight minutes long. Dad would wake up at 3 AM, drive almost five hours, watch an eight minute race, then drive all the way home. And then wash the dishes.” #quarantinestories

    “After my father graduated from medical school, he decided to open an office in a small agricultural community called Coalinga. Both his parents were Mexican immigrants, and he wanted to give back by working in an underserved community. There’s 16,000 people in that town— these are the people who pick the lettuce, and the cotton, and the fruit. I used to love visiting him at work when I was a kid. I can picture him wearing a lab coat, holding a chart, and people thanking him. They’d bring him bags of almonds and onions. He’d keep saying: ‘De nada, de nada, de nada.’ Dad always looks at the ground when he’s being thanked. That’s how humble he is. He went to Stanford, but he doesn’t even hang his graduation certificate in his office. When he comes home from work, he’ll do the jobs around the house that nobody else wants to do. He cleans out the garage. He washes the dishes. He doesn’t drive an expensive car. He doesn’t wear fancy clothes. His favorite things to wear are T-shirts and sweatshirts from our school athletic teams. Both my sister and I played collegiate sports. And he was our biggest fan. Every weekend for eight years, he’d drive to Los Angeles to watch us compete. And my sister was a rower-- so those races were only eight minutes long. Dad would wake up at 3 AM, drive almost five hours, watch an eight minute race, then drive all the way home. And then wash the dishes.” #quarantinestories

  • “I’ve been in this place before. I’ve gone through times in my life when I’ve had this much fear, and I ended up coming out the other side. When I lost my job. When my husband left me. I survived those things, so I try to remind myself of that. But it’s been a lot of stress: cheese puffs for breakfast, beer for lunch, the same pajamas for three days. Yesterday my four year old told me that I looked like a pickle. So it’s been a lot. But my main fear is this: what would happen to my kids? I’m a single mother of three. And I’m high risk because I have a rare lung disease. I haven’t been vocal about it, so not many people know. But those who do have taken such good care of me. Nobody’s made me feel needy. Some days I’ll open my door and there’s notes, or cards, or activities for my kids. One anonymous person left a bottle of hand sanitizer, with a note that said: ‘The world needs you.’ Last week we decided to return the favor. We put my daughter Zoey’s finger paintings in all our neighbors’ mailboxes. We called it Quarantine Art Club. Then yesterday we got a package on our doorstep. Our neighbor down the block had added all these beautiful drawings to Zoey’s painting. He signed it: ‘A Zoey and Karl production,’ so his name must be Karl. And his girlfriend’s name is Lauren. She added a bag of cookies. But that’s all I know about them! We’ve never even met them. They rode by the house yesterday and they waved out their car window. They said: ‘Is that Zoey?’ It was so much fun. I couldn’t get close, so I just kept blowing them kisses from the porch.” #quarantinestories

    “I’ve been in this place before. I’ve gone through times in my life when I’ve had this much fear, and I ended up coming out the other side. When I lost my job. When my husband left me. I survived those things, so I try to remind myself of that. But it’s been a lot of stress: cheese puffs for breakfast, beer for lunch, the same pajamas for three days. Yesterday my four year old told me that I looked like a pickle. So it’s been a lot. But my main fear is this: what would happen to my kids? I’m a single mother of three. And I’m high risk because I have a rare lung disease. I haven’t been vocal about it, so not many people know. But those who do have taken such good care of me. Nobody’s made me feel needy. Some days I’ll open my door and there’s notes, or cards, or activities for my kids. One anonymous person left a bottle of hand sanitizer, with a note that said: ‘The world needs you.’ Last week we decided to return the favor. We put my daughter Zoey’s finger paintings in all our neighbors’ mailboxes. We called it Quarantine Art Club. Then yesterday we got a package on our doorstep. Our neighbor down the block had added all these beautiful drawings to Zoey’s painting. He signed it: ‘A Zoey and Karl production,’ so his name must be Karl. And his girlfriend’s name is Lauren. She added a bag of cookies. But that’s all I know about them! We’ve never even met them. They rode by the house yesterday and they waved out their car window. They said: ‘Is that Zoey?’ It was so much fun. I couldn’t get close, so I just kept blowing them kisses from the porch.” #quarantinestories

  • “I became a mother without ever having sex. I was sixteen. My sister was older than me, and she was living a reckless life. By the time we found out she was pregnant, she was already three months along. And the baby was born premature—so there was no time to prepare. My sister went back to the street life, and everything fell on me. I became the mother. I was feeding him, changing his diapers, waking up in the middle of the night. My mother helped at first, but soon she had a stroke and lost all movement on her right side. The doctor told us she wouldn’t be able to care for a child. So she signed Aidan over to me-- right there in the hospital. I was only eighteen years old. I was taking care of my mom. I was taking care of my son. I kept it all very private. I didn’t tell my tennis coach why I had to quit the team. I didn’t tell my friends why I couldn’t take vacations, or go to parties, or go to college. I didn’t want the stigma. I started working four jobs. I pushed all my own feelings to the back of my mind just to make sure my son was OK. I couldn’t even grieve when my mom passed away. I had to think about him. I had to make sure he was fine. Since then it’s been the two of us. Aidan and I grew up together. He’s a great kid. He’s so respectful. I get stopped all the time in our building. Complete strangers tell me how much they love him. He holds the door for people. He helps people carry their groceries. He’s focused. He’s a go-getter. He gives one hundred percent-- just like his mom. When there’s something that has to be done, he gets it done.” #quarantinestories

    “I became a mother without ever having sex. I was sixteen. My sister was older than me, and she was living a reckless life. By the time we found out she was pregnant, she was already three months along. And the baby was born premature—so there was no time to prepare. My sister went back to the street life, and everything fell on me. I became the mother. I was feeding him, changing his diapers, waking up in the middle of the night. My mother helped at first, but soon she had a stroke and lost all movement on her right side. The doctor told us she wouldn’t be able to care for a child. So she signed Aidan over to me-- right there in the hospital. I was only eighteen years old. I was taking care of my mom. I was taking care of my son. I kept it all very private. I didn’t tell my tennis coach why I had to quit the team. I didn’t tell my friends why I couldn’t take vacations, or go to parties, or go to college. I didn’t want the stigma. I started working four jobs. I pushed all my own feelings to the back of my mind just to make sure my son was OK. I couldn’t even grieve when my mom passed away. I had to think about him. I had to make sure he was fine. Since then it’s been the two of us. Aidan and I grew up together. He’s a great kid. He’s so respectful. I get stopped all the time in our building. Complete strangers tell me how much they love him. He holds the door for people. He helps people carry their groceries. He’s focused. He’s a go-getter. He gives one hundred percent-- just like his mom. When there’s something that has to be done, he gets it done.” #quarantinestories

  • “I was the product of an affair. My father had sex with my mother once, and she hadn’t even told him about the pregnancy. So he never knew I existed. I was an only child. I was desperate to connect with my identity. But I had no way of finding him because my mother remembered his name incorrectly. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I was finally able to track him down. The first time we met, he sat in a chair, pulled out a cigar, and said: ‘I was expecting you to be a boy.’ It turns out that he’d had a son while he was in college, and he’d given that child up for adoption. Somewhere out there—I had a brother. I grabbed a napkin and wrote down all the information my father could remember. But it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t locate my brother. Soon I got busy with my family and my mind moved on to other things. Then two years ago I was on Ancestry.com, and I got a ping. It wasn’t like: ‘Oh, here’s your brother.’ But it was a match of some sort. And I’m really good at investigating that stuff, so I found him on Facebook and sent him a message. After we confirmed things with a DNA test, Eric and I hit the ground running. We call each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ We’ve visited each other’s families. We look alike. We think alike. I’ve shared my poetry with him. He shares his music with me. We’re both divorced, and middle-aged, and experiencing similar things. So there’s so much to talk about. We have these text conversations that last all morning. I’m not that same teenage girl anymore—desperate for connection. I don’t have a void that I’m trying to fill. But he’s just been such a nice addition to my life. I love having a brother.” #quarantinestories

    “I was the product of an affair. My father had sex with my mother once, and she hadn’t even told him about the pregnancy. So he never knew I existed. I was an only child. I was desperate to connect with my identity. But I had no way of finding him because my mother remembered his name incorrectly. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I was finally able to track him down. The first time we met, he sat in a chair, pulled out a cigar, and said: ‘I was expecting you to be a boy.’ It turns out that he’d had a son while he was in college, and he’d given that child up for adoption. Somewhere out there—I had a brother. I grabbed a napkin and wrote down all the information my father could remember. But it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t locate my brother. Soon I got busy with my family and my mind moved on to other things. Then two years ago I was on Ancestry.com, and I got a ping. It wasn’t like: ‘Oh, here’s your brother.’ But it was a match of some sort. And I’m really good at investigating that stuff, so I found him on Facebook and sent him a message. After we confirmed things with a DNA test, Eric and I hit the ground running. We call each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ We’ve visited each other’s families. We look alike. We think alike. I’ve shared my poetry with him. He shares his music with me. We’re both divorced, and middle-aged, and experiencing similar things. So there’s so much to talk about. We have these text conversations that last all morning. I’m not that same teenage girl anymore—desperate for connection. I don’t have a void that I’m trying to fill. But he’s just been such a nice addition to my life. I love having a brother.” #quarantinestories

  • “Leah was my absolute best friend. She was an only child too, so it was this next level sisterly bond. Her boyfriend Rasual became like a brother as well. He valued Leah’s friendships—so we became like a family. One night the two of them were driving home and lost control of their vehicle. Both of them passed away-- instantly. My grieving process was very hard. People were worried about me. The everyday, basic things became so difficult. I wasn’t cooking dinner for my kids. I wasn’t painting very much. Then one year after their death, I got invited to exhibit at an art show in Cleveland. It was on the anniversary of Leah’s funeral. I’m not even sure why I accepted the invitation. While I was getting ready in my hotel room, I remember saying a little prayer. I said: ‘Leah, I love you so much, but help me get through tonight without talking about you. Just one night.’ I arrived at the event and noticed that I’d be sharing my wall with another artist. His name was Bonic. He was deep in conversation with someone. The first thing I noticed was his voice. It was a very strong voice. And it was so familiar. I introduced myself, and told him: ‘This is going to sound crazy, but your voice sounds just like my friend who passed away.’ And he said: ‘Do you mean Rasual?’ It turns out that he’d known Leah and Rasual for years. He recognized me from their memorial service. That was over a year ago. Since then, Bonic and I have done so many collaborations. We’ve been all over the world together. He’s great with my kids. He’s my soul mate. Without question—he was the reason I was at that show. At the end of that night, I went back to my hotel room, and I wrote an entry in my journal. I wrote the date, and a single line: ‘Leah—did you send him to me?’ #quarantinestories

    “Leah was my absolute best friend. She was an only child too, so it was this next level sisterly bond. Her boyfriend Rasual became like a brother as well. He valued Leah’s friendships—so we became like a family. One night the two of them were driving home and lost control of their vehicle. Both of them passed away-- instantly. My grieving process was very hard. People were worried about me. The everyday, basic things became so difficult. I wasn’t cooking dinner for my kids. I wasn’t painting very much. Then one year after their death, I got invited to exhibit at an art show in Cleveland. It was on the anniversary of Leah’s funeral. I’m not even sure why I accepted the invitation. While I was getting ready in my hotel room, I remember saying a little prayer. I said: ‘Leah, I love you so much, but help me get through tonight without talking about you. Just one night.’ I arrived at the event and noticed that I’d be sharing my wall with another artist. His name was Bonic. He was deep in conversation with someone. The first thing I noticed was his voice. It was a very strong voice. And it was so familiar. I introduced myself, and told him: ‘This is going to sound crazy, but your voice sounds just like my friend who passed away.’ And he said: ‘Do you mean Rasual?’ It turns out that he’d known Leah and Rasual for years. He recognized me from their memorial service. That was over a year ago. Since then, Bonic and I have done so many collaborations. We’ve been all over the world together. He’s great with my kids. He’s my soul mate. Without question—he was the reason I was at that show. At the end of that night, I went back to my hotel room, and I wrote an entry in my journal. I wrote the date, and a single line: ‘Leah—did you send him to me?’ #quarantinestories

  • “Joe moved here from Texas almost four years ago. I think he’d been living a pretty idyllic life-- nice house, nice family. But shortly after arriving in Spokane, things began to unravel for reasons outside of his control. Our homeless shelter was looking for a new director at the time, and I was part of the hiring team. Within thirty seconds of Joe walking through the door—I thought: ‘This is our guy.’ He didn’t even wait for a question. He knew all the statistics, and was full of ideas: ‘Spokane needs this, Spokane needs that.’ You could just tell how much he cared. As soon as we hired him, he hit the ground running. He was determined to open a 24/7 family shelter before the snow started falling. Joe was the hardest worker I’d ever seen. He’d get on the ground with these kids, and fight for them with tears in his eyes. During his first two years at our shelter, I know things were difficult in his personal life. His marriage was falling apart. His son was diagnosed with autism. But he dealt with his pain by focusing on families who were in even greater need. One day we were sitting in his office, discussing his personal struggles, when he suddenly changed the subject. He began to talk about a family we were helping, and he got emotional. I couldn’t tell which family he was crying about—the shelter’s, or his own. Helping people was how he coped. When Joe first arrived, our shelter only had fifteen beds. Now it’s up to seventy-five, and over a thousand people have been rehomed. That’s because of his hard work. And I’d like him to get some credit for that. Joe Ader is one of the best people this city has.” #quarantinestories

    “Joe moved here from Texas almost four years ago. I think he’d been living a pretty idyllic life-- nice house, nice family. But shortly after arriving in Spokane, things began to unravel for reasons outside of his control. Our homeless shelter was looking for a new director at the time, and I was part of the hiring team. Within thirty seconds of Joe walking through the door—I thought: ‘This is our guy.’ He didn’t even wait for a question. He knew all the statistics, and was full of ideas: ‘Spokane needs this, Spokane needs that.’ You could just tell how much he cared. As soon as we hired him, he hit the ground running. He was determined to open a 24/7 family shelter before the snow started falling. Joe was the hardest worker I’d ever seen. He’d get on the ground with these kids, and fight for them with tears in his eyes. During his first two years at our shelter, I know things were difficult in his personal life. His marriage was falling apart. His son was diagnosed with autism. But he dealt with his pain by focusing on families who were in even greater need. One day we were sitting in his office, discussing his personal struggles, when he suddenly changed the subject. He began to talk about a family we were helping, and he got emotional. I couldn’t tell which family he was crying about—the shelter’s, or his own. Helping people was how he coped. When Joe first arrived, our shelter only had fifteen beds. Now it’s up to seventy-five, and over a thousand people have been rehomed. That’s because of his hard work. And I’d like him to get some credit for that. Joe Ader is one of the best people this city has.” #quarantinestories

  • “I just love how it’s a world that you want to be a part of. Everyone wants to go to Hogwarts. And everyone knows what house they’d belong to-- both of us are Hufflepuffs. I actually didn’t get into Harry Potter until I became an adult. But in 2017 I listened to all seven of the audiobooks during my commute to work. We were trying to get pregnant at the time. And it was taking longer than expected. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was an extremely difficult experience, but I kept thinking: ‘One in four women have miscarriages, and I just happen to fall in that category.’ Of course I was nervous for the next time, but I thought we’d be OK. But then it happened again. And again. It was difficult both physically and emotionally. We began to wonder: ‘Is it worth it? Do we even keep trying? Then our first round of IVF failed, and I sort of gave up hope. I even joined a Facebook group for women who are childless against their choice. We had our second embryo transfer in September. Our goal was to make it through the first trimester. When we got to eight weeks--that was huge-- because we’d never made it past 6.5 weeks before. Our due date is May 28th. So I figured it was finally safe to start planning the announcement." #quarantinestories

    “I just love how it’s a world that you want to be a part of. Everyone wants to go to Hogwarts. And everyone knows what house they’d belong to-- both of us are Hufflepuffs. I actually didn’t get into Harry Potter until I became an adult. But in 2017 I listened to all seven of the audiobooks during my commute to work. We were trying to get pregnant at the time. And it was taking longer than expected. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was an extremely difficult experience, but I kept thinking: ‘One in four women have miscarriages, and I just happen to fall in that category.’ Of course I was nervous for the next time, but I thought we’d be OK. But then it happened again. And again. It was difficult both physically and emotionally. We began to wonder: ‘Is it worth it? Do we even keep trying? Then our first round of IVF failed, and I sort of gave up hope. I even joined a Facebook group for women who are childless against their choice. We had our second embryo transfer in September. Our goal was to make it through the first trimester. When we got to eight weeks--that was huge-- because we’d never made it past 6.5 weeks before. Our due date is May 28th. So I figured it was finally safe to start planning the announcement." #quarantinestories

  • “Ever since I was a little girl, I’d been professing that I wanted to be a doctor. But there weren’t any doctors in my family. And we didn’t live in the nicest part of Brooklyn-- so there weren’t even any doctors in my neighborhood. I was fourteen years old when I met my first African American female physician—Dr. Cambridge. It was just a fluke. I needed to see a doctor, and I ended up at her office. But meeting her was like God saying: ‘You can do this. This is what you want, and it’s going to happen.’ It wasn’t easy. All through school I worked the closing shift at McDonald’s. I barely had time to study. I failed general chemistry during my freshman year, and my advisor told me that I shouldn’t pursue medicine. But people had been telling me that my entire life. So I just never went back to her office. I figured everything out on my own. I’d never even heard of an MCAT. I had to learn all that on my own. I studied with old books that people donated to me. But I was still working twenty hours a week, so I only scored in the 19th percentile. I applied to fifteen medical schools and all of them rejected me. That’s when the depression set in. Id lost $2200 on the applications alone. But I pulled myself together. I kept going. I enrolled in a Master’s program so I could prove that I was capable of succeeding on a higher level. I took out student loans. And for the first time—I was able to focus on my schoolwork instead of surviving. I went into beast mode. I was like a machine. I made my first ‘A’ ever in a higher education course. And the next time I took the MCAT, I scored in the 73rd percentile. When those results came in, I was laying on the floor. I was crying. Because nobody knew how hard I prayed for this. How hard I worked for this. So hard. So, so hard. Only I knew. I did this all by myself.” #quarantinestories

    “Ever since I was a little girl, I’d been professing that I wanted to be a doctor. But there weren’t any doctors in my family. And we didn’t live in the nicest part of Brooklyn-- so there weren’t even any doctors in my neighborhood. I was fourteen years old when I met my first African American female physician—Dr. Cambridge. It was just a fluke. I needed to see a doctor, and I ended up at her office. But meeting her was like God saying: ‘You can do this. This is what you want, and it’s going to happen.’ It wasn’t easy. All through school I worked the closing shift at McDonald’s. I barely had time to study. I failed general chemistry during my freshman year, and my advisor told me that I shouldn’t pursue medicine. But people had been telling me that my entire life. So I just never went back to her office. I figured everything out on my own. I’d never even heard of an MCAT. I had to learn all that on my own. I studied with old books that people donated to me. But I was still working twenty hours a week, so I only scored in the 19th percentile. I applied to fifteen medical schools and all of them rejected me. That’s when the depression set in. I'd lost $2200 on the applications alone. But I pulled myself together. I kept going. I enrolled in a Master’s program so I could prove that I was capable of succeeding on a higher level. I took out student loans. And for the first time—I was able to focus on my schoolwork instead of surviving. I went into beast mode. I was like a machine. I made my first ‘A’ ever in a higher education course. And the next time I took the MCAT, I scored in the 73rd percentile. When those results came in, I was laying on the floor. I was crying. Because nobody knew how hard I prayed for this. How hard I worked for this. So hard. So, so hard. Only I knew. I did this all by myself.” #quarantinestories

  • “It started with super light contractions. So it seemed like we had plenty of time. Leanne went to take a quick shower. I started packing up our stuff. Then suddenly she had a contraction that was like—‘ whoa.’ So I thought we’d be conservative and head over to the hospital. As we’re walking out to the truck, Leanne had an even bigger one, and I’m like, ‘Oh man.’ We jumped in the truck and pulled out of the driveway. I put on some Grateful Dead—light volume. I started out doing 5 to 10 over the speed limit. Nothing crazy. Then Leanne’s water broke. But it still didn’t seem like a ‘baby coming out right now’ situation. So I pushed it up to 60 mph. Then Leanne started screaming. Very guttural. And I heard her saying something about the baby coming out. Now I know people delivered babies for a long time outside the hospital. But I’d never done it. So I brought us up to 65 mph. Then I hear her saying, ‘Oh my god, I feel a head.’ And I start seeing something out of the corner of my eye. My wife is pulling a baby out of herself. Next thing I know, she’s holding it up in the air, and she’s saying ‘oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.’ I pulled over into a church parking lot and called 911. They told me to stay calm, and that I needed to tie off the umbilical cord with something. So I looked everywhere for some sort of string. I briefly considered my shoelaces, but those would take too long to untie. There was only one other option.” #quarantinestories

    “It started with super light contractions. So it seemed like we had plenty of time. Leanne went to take a quick shower. I started packing up our stuff. Then suddenly she had a contraction that was like—‘ whoa.’ So I thought we’d be conservative and head over to the hospital. As we’re walking out to the truck, Leanne had an even bigger one, and I’m like, ‘Oh man.’ We jumped in the truck and pulled out of the driveway. I put on some Grateful Dead—light volume. I started out doing 5 to 10 over the speed limit. Nothing crazy. Then Leanne’s water broke. But it still didn’t seem like a ‘baby coming out right now’ situation. So I pushed it up to 60 mph. Then Leanne started screaming. Very guttural. And I heard her saying something about the baby coming out. Now I know people delivered babies for a long time outside the hospital. But I’d never done it. So I brought us up to 65 mph. Then I hear her saying, ‘Oh my god, I feel a head.’ And I start seeing something out of the corner of my eye. My wife is pulling a baby out of herself. Next thing I know, she’s holding it up in the air, and she’s saying ‘oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.’ I pulled over into a church parking lot and called 911. They told me to stay calm, and that I needed to tie off the umbilical cord with something. So I looked everywhere for some sort of string. I briefly considered my shoelaces, but those would take too long to untie. There was only one other option.” #quarantinestories

  • “We always heard stories about him. Even before I joined the baseball team. All the kids at our school knew about Coach Durante. And everyone loved him. He was like a second father to everyone on the team: never yelling, never annoyed, never frustrated. He’d take us out for ice cream after practice and give us advice. On Saturday mornings he would hold a basketball game in the gym. It was $2 to get in, and all the money went to the local food drive. It was all about inclusion. Anyone could attend. It never mattered if you were a jock, or if you were in band, or if you were an outcast. Everyone played. Durante would meet you at the door, reach out his hand, and say: ‘I love you and I hope you’re having a great day today.’ One time he drove me home, and the whole way he was telling me that I needed to live my life for other people. When we pulled into the driveway, he called my Mom outside, and spent several minutes telling her how amazing I am. I owe such a debt to him. I’m a father now. I have three kids. And I’m always asking myself: ‘What would Durante do?’ A few weeks ago I got a text from one of the guys saying that Durante was in a home. So I called around to all the places in the city until I found him. The nurses warned me that his memory was gone, but I grabbed all my old photos and jumped in the car. He was staring out the window when I arrived. He didn’t remember me. He had no idea who I was. But it didn’t matter. The moment I walked in the room, he turned to me, and he said: ‘Oh my God, look at you. Did I ever tell you how much I love you?’” #quarantinestories

    “We always heard stories about him. Even before I joined the baseball team. All the kids at our school knew about Coach Durante. And everyone loved him. He was like a second father to everyone on the team: never yelling, never annoyed, never frustrated. He’d take us out for ice cream after practice and give us advice. On Saturday mornings he would hold a basketball game in the gym. It was $2 to get in, and all the money went to the local food drive. It was all about inclusion. Anyone could attend. It never mattered if you were a jock, or if you were in band, or if you were an outcast. Everyone played. Durante would meet you at the door, reach out his hand, and say: ‘I love you and I hope you’re having a great day today.’ One time he drove me home, and the whole way he was telling me that I needed to live my life for other people. When we pulled into the driveway, he called my Mom outside, and spent several minutes telling her how amazing I am. I owe such a debt to him. I’m a father now. I have three kids. And I’m always asking myself: ‘What would Durante do?’ A few weeks ago I got a text from one of the guys saying that Durante was in a home. So I called around to all the places in the city until I found him. The nurses warned me that his memory was gone, but I grabbed all my old photos and jumped in the car. He was staring out the window when I arrived. He didn’t remember me. He had no idea who I was. But it didn’t matter. The moment I walked in the room, he turned to me, and he said: ‘Oh my God, look at you. Did I ever tell you how much I love you?’” #quarantinestories

  • “It was just the three of us. And dad was a truck driver so he was gone most of the time. It could be a lot of stress. My mom was almost like a single mother. On my third birthday we moved to a small house outside of Denver. Next door there lived an older couple named Arlene and Bill, and they started talking to me through the fence. My first memory is Arlene handing me strawberries from her garden. It was a wonderful connection. After a few months, I knocked on their door, sat down in their living room, and said: ‘Will you guys be my grandparents?’ It was so silly. They could have laughed it off. But instead they started crying. They printed out an adoption certificate and hung it on their living room wall. That certificate remained until I left for college. They became so important to me. Their house was a refuge. Bill was the kind of grandfather that always smelled like oil. He taught me to drive everything. He was always fixing stuff. But he’d stop anything to sit down with me and have a glass of tea. Arlene was the type of grandmother that loved crafts, which was perfect for a kid. We were always putting tiny sequins on things. Both of them supported me in all my dreams. Through all my phases. They encouraged me to apply for college, even though I didn’t have the money to go. And when I got accepted, they presented me with a fund. They told me they’d been putting away money since the day I adopted them. Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve learned more about my grandparents. They both grew up poor. Arlene struggled with alcoholism when she was young, and that’s why they never had children. Their lives weren’t as perfect as they seemed through the fence. My grandmother passed away in 2013. It was two days before our adoption anniversary. My grandfather gave her eulogy. And at the end, he said: ‘Arlene leaves behind her husband Bill. And the greatest joy of her life-- her granddaughter Katie.’” #quarantinestories

    “It was just the three of us. And dad was a truck driver so he was gone most of the time. It could be a lot of stress. My mom was almost like a single mother. On my third birthday we moved to a small house outside of Denver. Next door there lived an older couple named Arlene and Bill, and they started talking to me through the fence. My first memory is Arlene handing me strawberries from her garden. It was a wonderful connection. After a few months, I knocked on their door, sat down in their living room, and said: ‘Will you guys be my grandparents?’ It was so silly. They could have laughed it off. But instead they started crying. They printed out an adoption certificate and hung it on their living room wall. That certificate remained until I left for college. They became so important to me. Their house was a refuge. Bill was the kind of grandfather that always smelled like oil. He taught me to drive everything. He was always fixing stuff. But he’d stop anything to sit down with me and have a glass of tea. Arlene was the type of grandmother that loved crafts, which was perfect for a kid. We were always putting tiny sequins on things. Both of them supported me in all my dreams. Through all my phases. They encouraged me to apply for college, even though I didn’t have the money to go. And when I got accepted, they presented me with a fund. They told me they’d been putting away money since the day I adopted them. Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve learned more about my grandparents. They both grew up poor. Arlene struggled with alcoholism when she was young, and that’s why they never had children. Their lives weren’t as perfect as they seemed through the fence. My grandmother passed away in 2013. It was two days before our adoption anniversary. My grandfather gave her eulogy. And at the end, he said: ‘Arlene leaves behind her husband Bill. And the greatest joy of her life-- her granddaughter Katie.’” #quarantinestories