Transpo Convo: Benjamin Out Shopping

[This is part of streets.mn’s “transpo convo” series, which aims to be an oral history of getting around the Twin Cities, one person at a time.] 

Benjamin getting an early start on Christmas shopping

Benjamin getting an early start on Christmas shopping

“I lost my car,” Benjamin begins.  Benjamin is soft spoken with a heavy Hispanic accent.

Benjamin lives by Swede Hollow Park on the East Side of Saint Paul.  He comes today to the Midway for shopping.

“When you have a little bit of extra money, it’s good to buy some things for Christmas.  This one is a uniform suit for my brother in Houston.”

Benjamin has lived in Saint Paul for forty-seven years.  Leaves are falling and a cool breeze on the 52 degree day foreshadows cooler temperatures ahead.

“I have a lot of family here.  I’m not leaving Saint Paul,” he smiles as he waits for the 16 bus on University Avenue.

“I won’t have a car again,” Benjamin explains.  “My eyes are not good.”

“But, I do have transportation.  I have transportation to the doctor.  I can get rides from people like my boss.”

“About three times a month I come out on the bus– for food, buying gifts, things like that,” he says, counting the excursions out on his hand.

Benjamin doesn’t find the bus convenient to use, especially with a walker.

“You know the bus has to put down the ramp.  It’s not easy.  And then I have to find a place to sit,” he explains.

“Then, I have to walk a few blocks from the bus stop.  My leg isn’t always so good,” Benjamin points to his right leg as he raises it and rotates his ankle.

Benjamin waits for the bus near the Green Line, but says he has never taken the light rail.  “I usually have transportation anyway.  The bus is just for when I need it.”

“Sometimes when my leg isn’t so good, I worry, but it’s not everyday,” Benjamin says in regards to personal safety as he begins to walk to the front of the bus line to board the 16 that is just arriving.

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3 Responses to Transpo Convo: Benjamin Out Shopping

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke October 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    thank you for writing this. real stories of STP: reminds me of the ‘humans of new york’ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork

  2. Chava October 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    That made me smile. Thank you.

    On a slightly different note, I certainly hope that people are offering him a seat.

  3. Tony Hunt
    Tony Hunt October 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

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