BOSTON (WWLP) – For someone down on their luck, being noticed can make all the difference.
That’s why Chad Welch, homeless and disabled, panhandles outside the TD Garden in Boston before big events—like Thursday night’s Game 1 between the Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I became disabled in September of this past year when I lost my ability to walk, because I had to have a major surgery,” Welch explained. “I was taking care of my mother, she had Alzheimer’s for the past eight years.”
Welch didn’t want his mother to go into a nursing home, so when he had a pain in his hip, he passed it off as a pulled muscle. It ended up being an infection that ate away at his bone.
“I have to do something for income, because I’m waiting on disability to come in,” Welch said. “Until I can get that, I’m out here to make money.”
So now, a former electrician with an apartment of his own resorts to parking his wheelchair on a bustling Causeway Street sidewalk with a sign that reads, “Seeking human kindness.”
Welch said he panhandles outside the TD Garden before every home game— Bruins fans being his particular favorite.
His panhandling efforts, however, are not always well-received.
“Some are rude, obviously people judge you, you know, they don’t know your story,’ Welch said. “They think you’re out here buying drugs or whatever. But there are good people, there are good people out there who try to help.
A handful of people donated money to Welch as 22News watched. He said he could make anywhere from $70-200 in just a few hours, but he can’t stay out too late due to limited space at his homeless shelter down the street.
“I use it [the money] for whatever I need– to pay my phone bill, hygiene products, bills that I had that accumulated, and I put some away, eat, and so forth.”
Next time you see a homeless person on the street, Welch wants you to remember one thing:
“Dont judge, because you don’t know someone’s story,“ he explained. “Like they say, you’re one paycheck away from being homeless. Health crisis, things happen in life where you can end up on the street.”