Capturing stories, building connections

Train Man

Posted by on Aug 21, 2019 in Bill's journalism, MSM Blog, Uncategorized

In 2000, I was lucky enough to meet and write about Stanford James, a young man from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago who has autism–and the extraordinary ability of a photographic memory. As a child, he loved to ride on the city’s CTA trains–trains seemed to be the only thing that calmed him down. His wonderful mom, Dorothy, would take him on the trains–she loved them herself. Eventually–amazingly–Stanford committed the entire transit map of the Chicago area to his memory. And Dorothy always managed to get Stanford into the right programs and the right schools. When he graduated form high school, Stanford got placed into a program that matched him with exactly the right job–giving folks transit directions over the phone for the Chicago-area Regional Transportation System (RTA). In his second year, Stanford won RTA Employee of the Year. Even though he can’t comb his own hair …