2013年6月20日 星期四

Dr. Jong Chen and Mike Williams

A Doctor's Kindness Gives Homeless Inventor A Second Chance

6 min 56 sec



Mike Williams (left) was homeless and broke in Sacramento, Calif., when he met Dr. Jong Chen. Now the two men are working together to develop a portable housing pod for the homeless.
Mike Williams (left) was homeless and broke in Sacramento, Calif., when he met Dr. Jong Chen. Now the two men are working together to develop a portable housing pod for the homeless.
Courtesy of Mike Williams
In California in the early 1980s, a cracked tooth sent Mike Williams to the dentist's office.
When Williams asked to see the tooth, the dentist said he had a mirror but that there was no camera or anything to show people the insides of their mouths. So, Williams invented one: the first intraoral camera.
His invention was a big success, and it led to other medical technology ventures that made him millions of dollars. Williams' career as an inventor and entrepreneur took off, but it wouldn't last.
"The real estate market destroyed a lot of my financial capabilities, and my home went into foreclosure [in 2009]," Williams tells NPR's Robert Smith. "I had a group that defrauded me in Florida, took about $2.5 million from me in a scam, and it just kept going and kept going and I couldn't stop it."
His world was crumbling. Then his wife asked for a divorce.

"I packed my car, told my kids to come and get what they wanted and I basically hit the streets," he says.
The successful inventor had become homeless.
For a while, Williams lived out of his car and kept a journal on a laptop. Once he fell behind on the car payments, he took shelter in a dumpster. The situation hit him hard.
"I found out that I was really nothing, and that was very hard for me to grasp; the fact that no one wanted me around," he says. "I was something nobody wanted to see or be involved in, and that crushed me."
One night last August, Williams was sleeping in a Sacramento park when two men began kicking and beating him. They beat him until he passed out, taking his belongings and leaving him with severe injuries.
Williams walked to the emergency room. He didn't have health insurance, and he says he waited for hours before seeing a doctor.
"Little did I know that that beating would be the beating that changed my life," he says.
A Second Chance
Williams' injuries eventually led him to Dr. Jong Chen.
He went to Chen complaining of pain in his lower abdomen; it turns out he suffered prostate damage that required surgery. Before the operation, the two men struck up a conversation, and Chen asked him how he became homeless and what he did before that.
A rendering of the pod prototype designed by Williams in his joint venture with Chen.
A rendering of the pod prototype designed by Williams in his joint venture with Chen.
Courtesy of Mike Williams
"And I started telling him the story," Williams says. "And I said, 'As a matter of fact, I'm the inventor of that little wire catheter you're using.' "
Chen thought it was a waste that an inventor like Williams was on the street, so he devised a way to help him. He later called Williams at a local Salvation Army shelter and asked to take him out to breakfast.
"He said 'I want you to bring your patents. I want you to bring whatever you're working on,' " Williams says.
They went to breakfast, and Williams talked of about his idea to invent a secure, safe place for the homeless and people that are displaced in society.
"I want to give them a safe place to live," he says he told Chen.
Williams came up with the idea while resting in one of the only safe places he could find: a dumpster. He'd even drawn up the plans for a self-contained survival pod — a 6-foot by 6-foot structure with a single bed and a chemical toilet.
Chen signed on, and they formed a company to start working on a prototype pod. They also envision other applications — FEMA could use them for emergency housing, and airports could rent them to travelers with long layovers.
All of that got started with an unusually generous contribution.
"To me, a patient is a patient, no matter what kind of status [they] have," Chen says. "They need the help, [and] we can give him the help."
Chen got Williams out of the shelter and back on his feet. He helped him get an apartment, new clothes and treated him to meals when the two would meet.
Williams says he is humbled by the second chance he's been given by the generosity of one man, and says it's people like Chen who are truly helping people.
"[Dr. Chen] is truly an amazing man," Williams says. "I'm just telling you, [he] is the example for America."

 台籍醫師助美 流浪漢重當發明家 故事轟動全美


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一對天作之合的夥伴-陳榮良(圖左)與麥可威廉斯(圖右)的故事轟動全美。 (照片提供/Mike Williams)

2月中旬,美國記者知道加州當地有一位陳榮良醫師,幫助一位從發明家淪為街友的麥可.威廉斯(Mike Williams),重新站起來再拾發明恩賜,後來果真設計出提供街友和災民可舒適居住的「移動艙」(Pod)。於是記者開始調查這則故事的真實性,分別挖掘兩人的背景,結果證實了這個故事的真實性。

  於是陳榮良與麥可的故事被記者「大作文章」,隔天成為美國最大發行量報紙之一的「洛杉磯時報」 (Los Angeles Times)
當日頭條新聞,接著其它媒體紛紛跟進報導。一週後,美國知名電影公司決定將兩人故事搬上好萊塢大螢幕。

  麥可從街友變回發明家的過程確實鼓舞人心,持續造成廣大迴響,如移動艙的發明已獲得美國白宮幕僚、加州州長及許多坊間企業等單位的回應,表明有意合作,成為未來幫助街友和災民的工具。但故事的另一位主角,幫助麥可的台籍旅美醫師陳榮良,更成為美媒追逐的焦點,還一路從美國紅回台灣。

    4
月底,陳榮良撥空回台,並接受本報專訪,親口談及這段瞬間爆紅的故事。因兩位主角都是基督徒,在外人眼中一舉
成名的神蹟,陳榮良卻坦承,「做夢都沒有想到」,因為幫助人對他而言,就跟呼吸、吃飯一樣,是「家常便飯」的行為。

受基督徒母親影響深 內化施比受更為有福
哼著老詩歌「給人的比拿的更有福(台語)…」,這是陳榮良從小在嘉義朴子長老教會主日學中學唱的詩歌。身為第三代基督徒
的他,受基督信仰影響很深,加上母親從小就諄諄教誨待人應一視同仁。 
陳榮良回憶,原生家庭中有10個小孩,家計其實不輕,但小時候常有乞丐到家門前行乞,母親不但不會將他們趕走,還會免費贈送飯菜。從小浸泡在這樣「手心向下」的環境,造就他每每有機會接觸到人們的需要時,不會想到計較回報,總是
先付出再說。 
高雄醫學院畢業後,陳榮良負笈美國,成為專業泌尿科醫師,在當地開了家醫院,生活不缺乏的他並沒有忘本,不論上門
的病人貧富貴賤,都不會大小眼。

有次幫一位病患開完刀後,發現對方付不出醫藥費,陳榮良沒有打算找警察或窮追猛打,只輕描淡寫的說:
「你可以回家,有機會再來看我。」對方充滿感激,並在一周後主動補送醫療費。

當流浪漢遇見陳榮良 激盪出轟動全美的故事
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72歲的陳榮良(右二)60歲的麥可(右三)善用各自恩賜展開救人新計畫。 (照片提供/Mike Williams)

當數十年如一日「天天都在幫助人」的陳榮良,碰上被轉介到醫院的街友麥可威廉斯,誰都沒料想到兩人的相遇,會激盪出一段轟動全美的故事。

    2012
8月,渾身骯髒、散發出惡臭味的威廉斯一到醫院,護士們無不掩鼻。不過,陳榮良卻看出麥可儀表、談吐不俗,幾經追問,才知道他曾受過高等教育,還是一位擁有幾十項專利的發明家,名下曾有過14間公司。更奇妙的是,陳榮良
幫麥可開刀的雷射用醫療器材,正是眼前的麥可所發明。
「他(麥可)以前發明很多醫療器材,都是用來救人的,也是發明全球第一部口腔手術攝影機的人。」

  然而,就在3年前,麥可因投資失利身家破產,豪宅也被拍賣,大難來時,妻子選擇遠走高飛,在這些無法控制的困境下
不得已淪為街友,還經歷被劫且被揍得半死的慘況。基督徒的他曾不解,以前從不吝熱心奉獻,為何神要讓他陷於這般苦難中?萬念俱灰之際也曾心生自殺念頭,是基督信仰支持他走過死陰幽谷。

  儘管落魄至此,麥可仍有「給出去」的力量。流落街頭的他,曾在雨天將自己棲身的大垃圾桶讓給受丈夫家暴同樣流落街頭的婦女及其孩子,更努力覓食,提供他們吃的。

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第一台「移動艙」(Pod)即將問世,總面積為8*8*6英尺,1.5個榻榻米大,其內設備完善,能給予街友及災民足夠的安全感。 (照片提供/Mike Williams)

陳榮良認為,60歲的麥可仍有餘力貢獻社會,於是鼓勵他東山再起,還自掏腰包租下一間套房,供應麥可過正常生活。
擁有發明恩賜的麥可,首先想要幫助的就這是無家可歸的人們,於是只花了3周的時間,就設計出解決街友和災民住宿問題的移動艙,並在陳榮良支持下,兩人成為合作夥伴,成立「Steps Housing Systems Inc.」公司,展開新的救人計畫。

  這段故事經媒體報導後,以滾雪球般的速度掀起熱議,形容他們倆是「一對不可能的夥伴」,並且疾呼:「社會需要有
更多的『陳榮良』。」

不忘嘉惠台灣 電影將回老家嘉義取景
對受難者而言,以玻璃纖維材質打造,一體成型的移動艙就如「挪亞方舟」,給人足夠的安全感。艙內附設床、睡袋、櫃子、摺疊椅、收音機、LED燈、救生器材,還有覆蓋太陽能板、暖氣、電風扇、化學處理的廁所,以及電腦和手機充電器,確實是「麻雀雖小、五臟俱全」。5月下旬第一台移動艙即將問世,每台造價3千至5千美元。

「每一個國家都有街友問題,美國各大城市都存在著上萬名街友,他們常因為露宿街頭被凍死,或睡在垃圾箱內被壓死,更別說天災來臨時的臨時安置需要。」
陳榮良表示,對於這些需要不能視而不見,於是誕生了移動艙的構想。流落街頭時,曾棲身垃圾桶裡的麥可,曾窩在垃圾桶裡向上帝祈禱,移動艙的設計靈感也是由此而來。
 
陳榮良與麥可的故事獲本屆奧斯卡獎最佳影片《亞果出任務》製片團隊青睞,雙方已經簽約,將拍製成好萊塢電影。
當初陳榮良還說:「我天天都在幫助人,救人的命,這個算甚麼?」
結果對方回應,美國現在充斥著負面新聞,已經許久沒有出現如此正面的消息,這是非常感動的故事,目前團隊已經募到3千萬美元拍攝經費。
 
陳榮良更主動向製作團隊建議,希望電影拍攝能回到家鄉嘉義取景,盼望更多人看見、認識台灣寶島的美麗,帶動觀光效益。將大半時間都奉獻給美國土地的他,期許接下來的日子能回台服務,並計畫將移動艙的生產工程委託台灣廠商製作,有心提升台灣的就業率及國際形象。

對我來說,錢沒有那麼重要,能夠服務別人是很愉快的事,因為施比受更為有福。-陳榮良
   我相信,上帝使我親身經歷無家可歸的苦難,是為了「預備」我去幫助有同樣處境的人們。-麥可威廉斯
 
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