David Carter has been a pretty familiar face around the University of Texas at Austin, he’s out on 24th and Guadalupe almost every day, pan handling. More than 40 years previous he had been familiar there for another reason; he was a student. He enrolled in 1971 as an art major when he had big dreams of becoming an artist or writer. Then his life changed. Carter dropped out of school at 23 after an incident where he broke his hand. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent several years without a permanent home, falling into substance and alcohol abuse. This is how he was on the street when another UT student came into contact with him.
Ryan Chandler is a journalism junior who was on an assignment, for The Daily Texan on homelessness, when he decided to interview Carter. All Chandler was after was Carters take on homelessness in Austin but instead he found a much more interesting story. He discovered Carters history with the University and desire to return to school. That’s when Chandler decided to make it a personal mission to help him do just that. Over the past six months, Chandler helped Carter re-apply, going through all the steps of admission, and eventually Carter was re-admitted to UT. “What I’d like to do is spend the rest of my life just doing research and writing books,” said Carter, “But I think the books I write will be better because of the college education and coming into contact with the great minds.”
But more than just being accepted again to the University Carters story also inspired someone else. After seeing a magazine article about Carter, a UT Austin alumnus decided to pay his tuition fees. “He wants to remain anonymous and says it is because he values the importance of second chances and education,” said Chandler. “It’s the greatest blessing I’ve ever received,” said Carter.
There are so many opportunities in this life, so many times a chance encounter could turn into something more, so many ways in which we can change a the world, or even just a single life. May we all keep our eyes and hearts open for them and do such a good turn for our fellow man as Ryan Chandler did for David Carter. If you would like to read more about their journey you can in your Good News Story of the Day here.
Story and Image from CNN.