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Listen to this audio essay:




Bob's Newsstand

In the city of Philadelphia, there are approximately 300 news stands. These green cabins of convenience reside on the concrete sidewalks outside cafes, offices, and historical locations and are frequent stops for the population. Customers line the streets waiting to pick up the latest issue of Vogue, a packet of cigarettes, or a pack of gum.


But on the bustling intersection of 3rd and Market stands a humble but legendary news stall. Owned by sixty-one year old Bob Inamdar, this news stand has churned out lottery winners, attracted regulars, and spawned lifelong friendships.


"I've owned this news stand for sixteen years. Many of my friends had the same job and the stand was cheap, so I decided to purchase it," Bob explained. And this was a smart decision on his part. As a father of three, Bob was able to use his salary from the stand to provide an education for his children, one of whom is now a successful doctor.


Among the various items Bob sells at his stand, such as the basic cigarettes, newspapers, magazines, and SEPTA tokens, he happily proclaims that the most popular item is the lottery ticket.


"People come every week to buy lottery tickets from me. I have several winners every year!" he said, smiling.


Popular with his customers, Bob has accumulated a large fan base. One dedicated customer, Tony Kimple, is full of praise for Bob. "He's always willing to help you out, and he's such a nice guy. Everyone loves Bob!"


Another fan is John Falcone, one of Bob's oldest friends and customers who stands as a loyal bodyguard.


"I've known Bob for sixteen years," John said joyfully. "I used to know the guy who owned the stand before him, and when he left, I met Bob. I consider him my big brother."


The title of bodyguard stems from a special moment shared between the two buddies. "We were walking the same way and talking, and I took him to the train station, and he started calling me his bodyguard. It's stuck ever since," John said.


It appears as if Bob has no intentions of shutting down his operation. Bob opens his news stand at eight every morning and closes shop at seven in the evening. The pattern then repeats six days a week. However, Bob is glad to come to his job. "It's like my beach house," he said.


Bob's news stand is not short of any advertising. John yells to any passerby, "for whatever you need, whether it be papers, magazines, or lucky lottery tickets, come to Bob's!"