Susan Orlins

One of my customers came up and asked me would I like to go out and see the pope. At first I say no, because I didn’t want to miss work selling my Street Sense papers.

But a downtown worker overheard the man telling me about the ticket and she say, “Why would you turn down a chance for something you may never get a chance to see again?”

And then my kind customer who was giving me the ticket say, “Ok I’m going to step out and go to lunch with a friend. I’ll be back to see you Mr. Anderson.”

He came back to see what my decision gonna be. But first he say, “Y’know there’s gonna be a lot of celebrities there. And you are a celebrity, so you should want to go there.”

I smiled. That’s when he reached me the ticket and I told him, “Yes, I’m goin’.”

He explained to me the gate open at five and the pope start speaking at nine and that there be a seat for me on the lawn of the Capitol.

So the next morning, I got dressed up in my blue suit and got on the train. I arrived from Virginia at Gallery Place.

The Metro ladies, they all bust out  laughin’ when they see me all dressed up and say, “Look at him! Where you goin’?”

I told them I got a hot date.

They say, With who?

I say, “The pope. You didn’t know I was a big celebrity in this city?”

And then I show them the green Capitol ticket I had.

They say, He ain’t  lyin’, he sure got a ticket.

I tell them, “It’s funny, ten years after Katrina I got a book out, and now I got a ticket to go see the pope at the Capitol. It’s amazing, workin’ at Street Sense, and I have all these supporters reaching out to help me.”

There’s no way in the world I will let anyone stop me or knock me from my Still Standing.

And to each and one of y’all, l want my message to go out to you too. No matter what, you are still standing. I tell you that with a big smile on my face. You help show me a new life, a new place, a new up step in life. If I got that close to the Capitol, that let me know I got a lot more places to go and I will make it!

I just gotta hang in there. It’s gonna be all right! And by the way, I really like the pope’s message of caring for others.

My book, Still Standing: How an Ex-Con Found Salvation in the Floodwaters of Katrina is now on Amazon. I hope you will visit my website and tell your friends about it!