NOTE: I kept this as short as possible, telling only what I deemed essential to the story.
Preface: I go to an income-based dental clinic. My dentist is a good sort and since I needed an x-ray to follow up her previous work, she suggested I go to the LSU free clinic (at a homeless shelter on most Saturdays) for this.
I left home at 7:30 and had my x-ray and all is good. I left the shelter about 11:00. It took a while to be seen. The young woman who was seen before me was waiting for her ride. She asked me if they couldn’t do my work as I was out about 15 minutes after her. I explained.
She showed me photos how her face had been horribly swollen, told how she had been given antibiotics earlier and had two teeth pulled today. She needs more done and a plate or bridge. I forget which. She had already priced all the work she needed and it would be $1600 from a regular dentist.
She can’t afford that. She works for a living but will probably be at the free clinic again. Also, she has to get her final work done by saving for it as the free clinic doesn’t do that. It’s the best deal she has going but will take a long time.
We went our separate ways.
Postface: She and I are not one by race, age or background but are one by circumstance, empathy and lack of prejudice. This is one story from New Orleans.