One Man Becomes Another's Hands, Feet And Family | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

One Man Becomes Another's Hands, Feet And Family

Play associated audio

When he was a high school sophomore, Collin Smith was in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic.

Ernest Greene, 50 years Collin's senior, had never met Collin, but he attended the same church. And when he heard about Collin's accident, he decided he wanted to help. He offered to do whatever Collin needed, from taking him to school to helping him shave. And when Collin began college, Ernest went too.

"What made you want to go to college with me?" Collin, now 23, asked Ernest in a visit to StoryCorps in Asheboro, N.C.

"Well I looked at your life and I roughly estimated that it would cost $50,000 a year for somebody to be with you 24 hours a day, five days a week so that you could go to school," Ernest says. "It sure wouldn't have been in the cards for me to have to pay that kind of money. I didn't figure it would be in the cards for you and your family. And so I offered to go to school with you."

"Did you ever think, 'What have I got myself into?' taking care of me? " Collin asks.

"Probably a few times. My day started at 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes it was 14-, 16-hour days, and at that point I was getting very tired," Ernest replies. "I'd be ready to go home and you were [ready] to do something else."

"Yeah, sometimes compromising isn't the easiest thing to do," Collin says.

At Collin's graduation ceremony, the college president turned to Ernest and awarded him an honorary degree.

"I don't think I've been any more shocked in my life," Ernest says. "I didn't think I had done anything more than any other person ought to do."

"We started together and we finished together," Collin says. "It was only fitting, because you were my hands and feet when I couldn't use mine. So it's more than just being a friend. You're like a father to me, a grandfather. And you became family."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

WWI Diaries Of Poet Siegfried Sassoon Go Public For First Time

Nearly a dozen notebooks and journals by the author, who fought in the British Army during the war, are being released to coincide with the centenary of the start of the conflict.
NPR

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.
WAMU 88.5

McDonnell Corruption Trial: Defense Zeroes In On Star Witness' Credibility

Defense attorney William Burck is focusing on inconsistencies in what Jonnie Williams told investigators as well as his stock dealings.
NPR

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

A report from a local Philadelphia TV station is re-igniting a debate and getting people all up in arms. (Or should we say, up in hands?)

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.