Karone Tenderson, better known as ‘Tad’, has not allowed the callousness of mankind and the effects of a nasty motor vehicle accident to deter him from trying to earn an honest living.
Nowadays, he sells masks in the streets of Linstead in St. Catherine – about 50 minutes drive away from where he lives at Croft’s Hill in Clarendon.
Karone told The Beacon that he was living at Sandy River in his native Clarendon, when his life changed dramatically at the age of 10. At that time, he also was an academically inclined student in Grade Five at Stacyville All Age School in Clarendon.
Karone recalled that a motorcar, one day, hit him from his bicycle in the vicinity of his home while he was crossing the roadway.
He was hospitalized for a protracted period of time, he said, adding that he suffered serious injuries especially to the right.
“I was in hospital knock out – couldn’t eat, couldn’t do anything at all,” he said while showing The Beacon a scar to his throat. He apparently had undergone a tracheostomy, which is a surgical procedure to cut an opening into the trachea (windpipe) so that a tube can be inserted into the opening to assist breathing.
Karone, who walks with a major limp, said he once was wheelchair-bound. He also used a walking stick.
The 23-year-old blamed the car driver for the crash and noted that he did not receive any form of compensation.
“From the car lick mi down, mi not even get anything out of the accident,” he lamented.
Karone said he did not return to school subsequent to the accident.
“After the accident, mi nuh goh to any school. Right now, mi want goh school because without education yuh can’t do anything at all,” he added.
Karone, who said he never had a relationship with his biological father, faced tumultuous times at home. He claimed that he was told to leave the family home in Sandy River due to run-ins with a younger brother.
A Good Samaritian in Croft’s Hill gave him a place to live temporarily, he disclosed. Karone has been living alone at that location for about a year.
“Mi an mi little brother couldn’t get along at home, soh mi haffi find somewhere goh,” he explained.
“Mi look a place to rent, but the man who give mi the place said a man like mi him help. Him give me the house to stay for a time.”
But Karone is eager to eventually own a home.
“Right now, mi want a house fi miself. You can’t live in people house all the days,” he declared.
Karone also firmly holds the view that he should work and support himself.
“Mi want come off the begging because it nuh good,” he reasoned. “Some people beg until people tek dem weh nowadays.”
The youngster, who noted that his neighbours in Croft’s Hill sometimes chip in and assist him with food, said he does not beg when his business is up and running.
“Mi used to walk and beg, but somebody buy onion and garlic for me to sell and make a living,” he said. “Mi used to hustle onion and garlic, but, from dem get dare, mi start sell mask [due to the increased demand for it amid COVID-19].”
The profit Karone makes from vending is minuscule.
He said he sometimes doesn’t even earn the $350 needed to pay his taxi fare from Linstead back to his home in Croft’s Hill. As such, he often sleeps in Linstead Market, hoping to eventually generate enough funds to buy food and cover transportation.
“By the time mi hustle the money and pay fare, everything mash up [in terms of the business],” Karone said, adding that he sometimes doesn’t even eat for an entire day.
He further told The Beacon that people sometimes beat him for reasons unknown to him. That’s among the reasons he hopes to, one day, quit vending.
“Mi want something else to do and come off the roadside,” Karone said.
“More while people lick mi, and I don’t have the strength in mi hands to lick them back. Some people deal wid mi good, some bad. You have to look into all of them. But the creator send all of us here as brothers and sisters to live right – to make it right.”
Karone, who sings uplifting Gospel songs as a coping mechanism, became a Christian in his late teen. He said he worships at Byways and Hedges Youth For Christ Ministry in Kellits, Clarendon.
He told The Beacon that, since his baptism, his physical health has improved. He, for example, is now able to lift his right hand above his head – something he previously was unable to do.
“From mi baptize, the Lord a mek a way,” Karone said.
He hopes his next blessing will come in the form of a stable job or the ownership of a shop.
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