This is one of a series of stories we are sharing to show what's inside CubeSmart. You not only get a peek inside our customer's storage unit, but also a peek inside what is important to them. Thank you to Dalvern, a customer of our CubeSmart store in the Bronx, for sharing his story with us.
Dalvern Edwards has been using self storage at CubeSmart's Bartow Avenue Bronx location for 12 years. A mover by trade, he first stumbled on the facility while working and then started to use it for his own personal needs.
"I ended up getting a room [here] because I find my apartment is crowded and it's much more convenient for me to rent space and put some stuff in storage," he says. "I keep my winter clothes, my summer clothes and some of my musical equipment, stuff like that. I recommend people from my church, anybody I know friends looking or storage I always invite them here. It's accessible."
Dalvern lives nearby with his wife of 26 years and four children, ages 12 to 23. He met his wife when they were both working in White Plains—he for a cable company, and she as a home-care CNA. On a snowy day he cleaned his car off before leaving for work and then went inside to wait for the storm to die down. When he came back he realized he'd left the lights on and the battery was dead. He flagged down the next person to drive by. "I asked her for a jump start. From there, it would be a jump start in life."
When he's not moving customers, Dalvern devotes his time to his passion project—promoting and producing gospel music. He has managed some 100 artists from all over the world. "Moving does not go steady all the time and music does not go steady all the time. Each have their seasons. They complement each other."
A native of Jamaica, Dalvern grew up in a poor but religious household where he remembers going to school without shoes and washing his one shirt every day, hoping it would be dry in the morning. "My grandmother taught me how to show kindness. Back home, she used to be a dressmaker, and whatever she sewed, she'd give it to the people in the community who don't have clothes to wear. On top of that, when she cooks everyone comes over for dinner. When I was young I could not understand why my dinner would have to be shared. When I get to understand, I start embracing and do the same thing. When I got the opportunity to come to America, I carry on that tradition."
Dalvern will offer music for free for funerals and church fundraisers, and he devotes a portion of his moving business to helping people at a lower cost. "Sometimes a customer wants to move and the job costs $500 and they only have $200 and I'm able to speak to my guys and say, ‘let's four of us go and do it real fast' and maybe I will split the money amongst them and I'll go without. I'm a God-fearing person and God looks over those that are less fortunate. Each time I have the opportunity to do it, it’s a pleasure. Moving doesn't make me much profit. I am working with a conscience."
God has helped Dalvern through darker times, too. He and his wife lost two infant children to the same disease, within a span of two years. "Without God I would be doing it on my own. People have a tendency to be bitter or mean to people who have kids who are normal. I could probably choose to take drugs or something to overcome the hurt but I choose to be good and show appreciation for people I love."
Life in America hasn't always been easy, but Dalvern maintains a positive outlook and knows that in the end his commitment to kindness is the key to his happiness. "Being the color I am, I have seen a lot of discrimination but you learn to accept people for who they are. Sometimes by me shining my light and doing the right thing even the ones that reject me end up embracing me."
We'd love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.
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