• Real People, Real Stories: Peter Wong


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- FOX 25's Maria Stephanos introduces someone who she describes as the real beautiful person on Boston's trendy Newbury Street in her "Real People, Real Stories" series.

    Peter Wong has been selling water and other drinks at the corner of Newbury and Arlington for a couple of decades.

    It will be clear by the end of this story that Peter Wong is a man with much to say. He received his vendor's license and works hard. He doesn't want charity, he's just a business man.

    Doctors first learned Peter is exceptionally gifted from Warren Dahlin, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Administration Stonehill College.

    Professor Dahlin tells FOX 25's Maria Stephanos he met Peter as an occupational therapy graduate student at Boston University in 1974. 

    "They were touring me through the hospital the first day I was there," said Warren. "I had one month, it was my last clinical affiliation, we walked in the room and there was Peter in his wheel chair. He was 13 years old and I said what I about him? And she said, 'Oh he's profoundly retarded, he'll never leave the nursery they squashed his cerebellum when he was born with a high forceps delivery and he'll probably choke to death because he can't swallow.'"

    Peter had spastic cerebral palsy. He couldn't feed himself or speak, but could communicate just fine. Warren found that out that day when Peter made it very clear he was attracted to the nurse. He put Peter on his case load.

    While working with Professor Dahlin, a test revealed Peter had an IQ of 138 to 140. That is superior intelligence.

    "Physically, Peter is one of the most disabled people I've ever known and worked with, physically, he's quite disabled. In his spirit and mentally, Peter is the least disabled person of everyone I know," Warren told Maria Stephanos.

    Maria asked Peter about the Boston Marathon bombings since he is typically located just blocks from the site of the April 15 attacks. Peter told Maria he bought flowers to lay at a makeshift memorial in Copley Square. FOX 25 photographer Jen Platt, who was filming Maria and Peter's interview, was taking video near Copley Square the day Peter brought flowers to the scene.

    "I remember you coming and another woman came and helped and put the flowers down for you," Jen told Peter.

    "Why did you want to do that, Peter?" asked Maria.

    "I felt, I felt sad," Peter replied.

    Peter and Maria first connected when Peter wrote her a letter. He saw Maria's "Real People, Real Stories" on Rick and Dick Hoyt, the father and son duo known for participating in marathons and triathlons across the country. Peter knew and admired their family.

    "You're pretty amazing too. Hey, Peter, I mean it," Maria told Peter.

    "I appreciate it," Peter responded.

    "I appreciate meeting you," said Maria.

    Peter can be found near Newbury Street or at Stonehill College in North Easton where he helps Professor Dahlin teach a course called "Disability?" Maria says the truth is, if you just took a moment to meet Peter, he would teach you something you can't learn in a classroom.

    Next Up: