Scott Wilson’s story starts with a tragedy.
He and his fiancee were living in Copper Center, Alaska. “We had just moved into this trailer. We’d been staying in a cabin with no running water and wanted to have a few luxuries like indoor plumbing. The next day was New Year’s Eve, and she was coming home for lunch.” A state trooper banged on the door at noon and told him that “she got T-boned right at the end of our driveway by an Alyeska truck — there were two of them running in tandem. She only saw one because the snow just whited out everything, so she turned into that white-out behind the truck, and there was another truck behind that took her out.”
She had been “the center of my world. She gave me the gift of self.” Nine months later, he rolled his truck and broke his back in three places. “I was a grieving, drunken mess.
“I wound up back in Seattle — my mom took me in.” Eventually, he tried going back to work. But then “they hit me with past-due child support [from a previous marriage].” Unable to pay, he lost his driver’s license. “That put me in a cycle of homelessness.”
Eventually, Scott got Social Security benefits when he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart — “I’m a big-hearted guy” — and he got off the streets.
“I needed something to do. I got my first computer through Interconnection when I volunteered some time and helped them rebuild computers. That opened up a whole world for me.”
On the Internet, Scott found alternative treatments for his medical condition. “I’ve been on heart meds for four years. It was starting to rot my brain. I had no energy. I started looking at nutrition and getting off of wheat and getting some good vitamins. I’m not taking any heart meds now, and I can walk down the street and not get winded. I feel 100 percent better.… The paper [Real Change] supplements my income, so I can buy the supplements I need.”
That’s not the only reason he sells Real Change. “This is a paper that tells people about stuff that really affects them; it’s not the ‘presstitutes’ giving a spin on something. You start uncovering the truth and uncluttering your head of lies. The system’s fraudulent. People are going to wake up.”
When Scott panhandled with a sign, “My sign simply said, ‘A buck or a smile or’ and if somebody read it [and said ‘Or what?], I’d hit them with the other side, which said, ‘Both please! God bless, have a nice day.’ And they’d laugh, I’d be laughing, that moment when shared smiles connect. All the problems disappear. That’s what I do with the paper — that moment of bliss changes your day. It’s what I’ve got to share.”
Scott’s philosophy? “To change the world, we need to change ourselves within. We need to be grateful for what we have. With relationships, including those that end, instead of being caught in pain, we need to make them more sacred.”