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|December 26, 1985
|Gary Doe Comes In From Cold
Law School Grad Found In Terminal
by Dennis Hevesi
A New York Newsday reporter was with George McDonald, an advocate for the homeless, in Grand Central Terminal at about 4 p.m. yesterday as McDonald was trying to gather information about an unidentified woman who had died on a waiting-room bench on Christmas Day, when McDonald spotted a tall black man.
"That's Gary," McDonald shouted, and began running in the man's direction. McDonald has been assisting a group of 14 Harvard and Columbia classmates of Gary's in their attempts to get their friend off the streets.
At first, Gary (Doe is not his real last name) strode away. But McDonald persisted. "Your mother and your friends are very worried about you," he said.
"I'm not here falling down in the streets," Gary said. "This is not some Charles Dickens 'Tale of Two Cities' story. I want to do things on a certain schedule."
Gary, who had no laces in his shoes and was dressed in tattered pants and a light jacket yesterday, graduated from Harvard in 1979. In high school, he had been named Alabama Youth of the Year. After earning his law degree from Columbia, he went to work for a Miami law firm, earning $42,000 a year. But last May, after failing the bar exam a second time and breaking up with a girlfriend, Gary came to New York and joined the ranks of the homeless.
In a Christmas Eve call from her home in Phenix City, Ala., Gary's mother asked reporters to help find her son. With her approval, the group of friends had obtained a warrant so that police could bring Gary before a judge to determine whether he is competent to care for himself.
"This is kind of insulting," Gary said when McDonald told him about the warrant. "Sometimes family can be helpful and sometimes, probably, they are not being helpful. They can't handle things in a 'Grapes of Wrath,' Charles Dickens way."
After about 20 minutes of discussion, McDonald told Gary, "There is this private agency. They have an apartment for you on 116th Street. They have food for you and clothing. Threre are people who want to help you. It's time, Gary."
"The opportunity," Gary said simply, agreeing to take a taxi with McDonald to the agency. "Hotels in New York are expensive," he said during the ride, pointing out that he had stayed in several shelters. "You pretty much got to be Rocky Mountain backpacking," he said. "You're not staying at the Plaza. When it gets cold, you don't want to be dealing with Siberia."
Once at the agency, Gary said he would call his mother sometime today. His mother could not be reached for comment last night.
Because Gary accepted help, McDonald agreed not to have the warrant served. He said he would seek to have it vacated.
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