This is Richard
Today was Richard's birthday, he just turned 67 years old. If you spend any time in Uptown Charlotte you may have seen him, but you may not know his name if you've just walked by and ignored him. I know his name because I stopped and spoke with him after watching so many people walk around him, ignoring him like he wasn't there, like he didn't exist. But Richard does exist, and he's a human being just like you and I.
Maybe if you knew more about Richard you would see him differently. He was born in Georgia but moved to Jamaica when he was 7 years old, then when he was 11 his family came back and settled in Charlotte where he's been now for the past 56 years of his life. Richard last worked cleaning debris from the worksite when Bank of America Stadium was built (where the Carolina Panthers football team currently plays). He told me that job kept him employed for 2 years but when that was done he struggled to find work because "nobody wants to hire an old guy". I can't imagine what that is like, it's something that I hope I never have to experience, but unfortunately too many people do experience this, too many people that are overlooked.
Now that you know something about Richard, the next time you walk by him stop and say hello. Spend 600 seconds with him and see how he's doing, give him some of that southern hospitality that the rest of us receive when we're seen on the streets.
Happy Birthday Richard. #anotherdayanother600seconds