RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Time now for StoryCorps. Today's conversation comes from New York City. Ex- Convicts Felix Aponte and Rob Sanchez both served time at Sing Sing Penitentiary. They met after they got out and struck up a friendship. Then, Rob Sanchez was diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney disease.
ROB SANCHEZ: Felix was coming to a job placement center where I worked as a case manager. I think Felix was 19, 20 years old.
FELIX APONTE: Yeah, I was 20.
SANCHEZ: And immediately I saw that he was pain in the ass.
APONTE: I could tell, off the bat, that he's just going to tell me the truth and he's not going to beat around the bush. And me and him clicked, because, you know, once you do time, it's like...
SANCHEZ: There's a bond.
SANCHEZ: So, when I got hit with the kidney disease, I was sick, I had no job, I was lonely, and then Felix called me.
APONTE: We were talking for a while and you told me that you had kidney disease. I was like, but you don't got nobody that'll donate. So, you know, here I am, I'm in good health, plus, I wanted to do something good in my life for the first time. You know, all I've done is, like, mischief and...
APONTE: Start trouble.
SANCHEZ: No, I don't start trouble; trouble finds me.
APONTE: Yeah. I've heard that before.
SANCHEZ: I was like what's up?
APONTE: So, what about me? You think I could get tested? I mean, like, I got mad tattoos so I don't know if I could donate. So, then you were like, yeah, right, whatever. All right, Felix. And you just kept on brushing it off and I kept on telling you.
SANCHEZ: The day that I believed it was the day that we went in for our last checkup. And we're sitting down and Felix has a Plaxico Burress jersey on, and they're checking me and they're checking Felix. And Felix looked up and said, look, I want to do this. That's when I knew that it was on. And sometimes when I'll play the Mega Millions - and you don't know this - and I lose, I'm okay with it because I felt like I won already 'cause you saved my life. What greater gift is that? That was my million dollars.
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MONTAGNE: Rob Sanchez with Felix Aponte, at StoryCorps in New York City. This interview is part of StoryCorps Historias, recording the voices of Latinos. It will be archived at the Library of Congress. The Podcast is at NPR.org.
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MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.
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