photos: Photo by Stefania Seccia.

Love over adversity

Vendor Profile: Ada and Bruce stick together through thick and thin

Get on your megaphone

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Vendors Ada and Bruce still remember the first time they met. And fondly.

Bruce says she was catching a bus at the stop on William and Clark in Vancouver about six years ago, and she caught his eye. He struck up a conversation with her, and continued to talk to her whenever they were both at the Carnegie Centre.

Ada remembers it the same way.

She likes going for walks every night “for exercise before going to bed,” and she remembers the feeling when he first laid eyes on her and struck up a conversation.

“I caught his eye and we started talking, and he said, ‘I’m looking for a relationship, my other exes drank and did drugs and I’m not into that scene.”

Bruce says he was looking “for someone to settle down with.”

At the time, Bruce was living in a halfway house. He introduced Ada to the staff and the other residents, and they quickly welcomed her.

“They said it was OK for me to come to the house,” she says. “His exes couldn’t go there because they were in the black book. They used to go there and raise their voices, put on a big scene so he dropped them like a hot potato.”

Bruce remained at the halfway house for years, up until this July when Ada was able to move him into a bachelor apartment with her.

“He had trouble sleeping, people going upstairs, slamming doors, flushing toilets, sign in and sign out,” she says. “It was hard on him. It was hard on me too and I didn’t live there.”

If it weren’t for this relationship, Bruce says he’d probably be back in jail. But Ada has also helped him with his recent serious health ailments.

“He had one heart attack and three strokes,” she says. “One weekend, he doesn’t remember driving over, spending the Friday night at my place, and then we had to go back.

“I’m thankful I was there when he had his strokes and heart attacks. I’m thankful he didn’t get in a car accident.”

Bruce says the doctors diagnosed him with transient global amnesia, from the suffering he experienced as a youth in residential school.

“Apparently that’s the worse prison there was,” he says. “I experienced every type of abuse you can think of that happened at that school.”

Despite the past, Ada and Bruce are forging ahead, taking care of each other while living in the Downtown Eastside community. The two volunteer in the community as well; Ada has more than a dozen certificates to show for it.

Ada says she still looks forward to selling Megaphone and the Hope in Shadows calendar every year.

“It’s tough out there some days,” she says. “But we tough it out,” Bruce adds. “One thing I could tell you is that I’m glad Ada introduced me to [Megaphone]. We made a few friends over it.”

Ada and Bruce sell Megaphone in Vancouver.

Get on your megaphone

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312 Main St
Vancouver, BC
V6A 2T2