Patrick Fortemps, Director of Catering at Le Parker Meridian Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, has been a friend of NYCR for more than ten years. Recently, he told Street Talk a unique story that took place one day on The Relief Bus.
In the middle of preparing to move to Europe, Patrick volunteered on The Bus one day. He befriended a homeless Puerto Rican man in his late 40s whose name is Pedro. “I felt compassion and wanted to do something radical for him,” he recalls.
His goal was to take him to a detox but there were no beds. So Patrick took him to his apartment to take a shower. Pedro ended up staying for a few days. After trying again with a detox: Pedro went in but did not stay long. Patrick took him back in. As Pedro was helping Patrick pack and move boxes, they became friends. Patrick even gave him the keys to his house. On the way to the airport to fly to Paris, he dropped Pedro at Grand Central Station to take a train to a halfway house.
This friendship remained in tact, as Patrick and Pedro kept in touch over the years. When Patrick moved back to the States, he visited Pedro who is still free from drugs and is now working. Patrick’s showing up and doing some-thing to help, gave a chance for life and freedom for Pedro.
Patrick’s story is an unusual one for us. Usually we find a suitable place for our street friends first. But, it sure worked for Patrick and Pedro. Who is waiting for you to be their friend at The Bus?
Written in 2001.