From the June 2010 magazine.

Bag of donuts

Sometimes all it takes is a kind gesture to save a life

IN the summer of '73, my family and I had just moved to Los Angeles. With no place to live and no money, we found ourselves staying at a mission on skid row. It was not the best place for an 11-year-old boy. This was the turning point of my life.

Not having any other kids to play with, I would walk the streets, and I met many types of people. Normal people would call them drunks, bums and tramps; I called them my friends and my teachers. The streets were my classroom.

Alcohol was the first step into my new life. I learned how I could afford to eat and drink. I would drink...

-- DAVE F.

Hutchinson, Kan.