Recalling this first meeting, DShazer told the The Fresno Bee in 2016, “He didn’t ask me for money or anything; he was just appreciative, first of all, that I noticed him, that I talked to him, that I didn’t treat him as less-than.” She added, “He was exceptionally grateful.”
DShazer, humbled by the man’s reaction, decided to get to know him a bit more. And it turned out that the man, named Clifford James Herbert, was dealing with a lot. Not only was he on the streets, in fact, but he had also battled a range of health issues.
In 2006, due to complications during heart surgery, Herbert had been given a tracheotomy and was now unable to talk. As a result, he had resorted to writing things down in order to communicate. On top of this, the former farm laborer had been diagnosed with cancer. Heartrendingly, doctors had recently told him he had only six weeks left to live.