After a full day of work, Tyrone Franklin went home and wanted a beer.
“I walked to the store, bought me a couple of beers, and on my way back home, I saw some guys who were standing on the street,” recalls Franklin after walking to the liquor store on 79th and South Shore Drive I walked up to them and they stopped me and raised their shirts to show their guns.” After searching Franklin, the men began to beat down on him.
“I couldn’t take it no more,” says Franklin, explaining how he swung back in defense.
“Then they shot me down,” says Franklin. “They were gonna finish me off until one man said, ‘Don’t shoot no more.’” Franklin was left for the paramedics.
This was three years ago. And since then, Franklin has determined his purpose with a little help from his friends–a.k.a. his customers.
“To be up there selling papers,” says Franklin, “helps me a lot with giving me extra money so I can take my wife somewhere.”
Franklin was introduced to his wife in the 80s, but did not get married until five years ago. “Neither of us thought that we were that serious about each other until we kept coming back to one another,” says Franklin. “We said we may as well get married because neither one of us were going to go anywhere. Even with my accident, she’s still been sticking with me and I love her for it.”
Along with his wife, Franklin’s old boss, Arnold Kendall, was like a father.
Prior to StreetWise, Franklin was a janitor–drywalling, plumbing, and landscaping. Kendall gave Franklin a job for 20 years in his buildings with $50 pay after each day of work. “There was nothing bad about that!” says Franklin. “If it wasn’t for him I would’ve been out there and probably would’ve landed in jail. I love him from the bottom of my heart.”
A lifelong hustler, Franklin has always been a salesman. “In my childhood, I started collecting merchandise because I knew someone may have needed a chair, maybe, so I’d find one and sell it,” says Franklin. And from chairs to magazines, Franklin’s businesses have succeeded.
“I’ve been selling papers and keeping myself busy. I get to meet different people. Some people help me and ask if I want anything,” says Franklin. “I do my best, that’s all.”
Rigorously applying himself to the job, Franklin often sells out of magazines and returns to the StreetWise office to buy more to sell on his home corner at 47th and Lake Park Ave – and is thankful for it.
“StreetWise is keeping me from getting into trouble and puts money in my pocket,” says Franklin. “Different events in your life lead you down different roads, and this is one road that I had to take – that I would never walk again. I take it one day at a time and just deal with it and do what I got to do.”