They met on a rainy morning several years ago, at the base of the Helmsley Building in Midtown Manhattan. As others hurried to work, Pamela J. Dearden, an executive with JPMorgan Chase, noticed a woman, unperturbed by the rain or her surroundings, standing on a 36-square-foot sidewalk grate she had chosen as her home.
Ms. Dearden, known to everyone as P.J., offered her umbrella to the woman, who took it and thanked her.
A friendship blossomed. P.J. would often stop to talk with the woman, who sat amid shopping bags, books, food containers and a metal utility cart. P.J. admired her hardiness, but also her smile, her soft features and her humor. If the woman was sleeping or talking loudly to herself, P.J. held back, but other times she engaged her in short conversations, which could go into unexpected places.
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Source: Coalition for the Homeless