SAN DIEGO — Often times on the front lines of homelessness, you'll find incredible acts of generosity. In this Zevely Zone, I met an unsung hero. Dr. Pha Le is an emergency room doctor who left the hospital behind on this day to help the homeless. The people lined up at the free pop-up health clinic will probably never know the person behind it all.
"Can you ask them about the water?" said Dr. Pha Le. "I need power for my computer." We found Pha running around with a full sweat while opening the clinic. "It's like organized chaos for a little bit," said Pha. The doctor knows all about chaos, as a child in Vietnam, his family escaped communism in the middle of the night on a boat. "Life for a refugee family is very very difficult," said Pha.
In 1982, Pha's family came to the United States with nothing and lived in poverty. "I look back on those days and I think how incredible my parents' strength was to be able to keep me happy and keep me focused on my education," said Pha.
The medical checkups, the medicine, the vaccinations, the dental care, haircuts; every service is completely free. "It makes me happy. I love people like this," said Consuelo Gomez-Markham. She has been homeless for 12 years but generosity like this gives her hope. "It makes my heart bigger," said Consuelo.
Alisa Carson and her dog Noah have been on the streets for nine years. Alisa suffers from a lung condition. "It makes you feel really good, especially when you are sick. I mean it's like uplifting," said Alisa.
I had to remind Pha, the day of the clinic was supposed to be his day off from the emergency room. "This is what I do for fun," said Pha. He and his wife, who is also a doctor, could be living the high life but instead they pay it forward.
"Homelessness to someone who comes from a third world country is really senseless. We have so much resources and if we could devote the right resource in the right way, we can fix homelessness," said Pha who addressed the volunteers. "Until the people who have the power end homelessness forever, I will continue to come here and provide this care, so I am very grateful for your participation today."
"Acts of kindness," said Alisa. Pha would also like to thank the San Diego Dental Society and Great Clips for volunteering their services. For more information on the pop-clinics click here.
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