Happy Birthday To A Stamford Legend

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Dougie White is well-known resident in the Turn of River and High Ridge areas of Stamford. He is frequently seen on his bike. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Whether you have grown up in Stamford, or you are currently living/working in the High Ridge area, you are probably a fan of Dougie White.

If you don’t know who I am referring to, he is built like an ox with bulging calf muscles and he can be seen riding and pushing his bike down busy streets in the area, returning bottles at the A&P on High Ridge Road, or resting at Starbucks.

His loud, booming voice is enough to startle anyone who doesn’t know him and when he says hello or thank you to a female, he always likes to give them a kiss on the cheek. For some, this is very intimidating, but for those of us who know him, understand that is the furthest thing from the truth. 

"He doesn’t wear his hearing aids so that is the reason why he seems to be yelling,'' said Dougie’s nephew, Matt.

Growing up in the Turn of River area, I have known Dougie my entire life. In my younger days, I would see him daily any time of the year. He liked to stop by to say hello when we were out playing in the streets. He knew my name as well as all the other kids in the neighborhood. 

He would show up at my house to play basketball and would rarely miss a shot. He would talk about the weather, update us on the latest Brady Brunch episode or sing a short song like the theme from "Green Acres."

“He is a frequent flyer at my home in the nicer weather ... stopping by for bottles, a cold drink and at times a snack,'' said Tara Ormond O'Brien. "Dougie is truly an icon in the High Ridge area. I grew up knowing Dougie and now my children have."

Dougie was born on Feb. 13, 1946 and is 68 years old. He is currently under the care of his nephew Matt and is still living in the house he grew up in. He lost both of his parents and a year and half ago he lost his aunt ,who was his caregiver after his parents passed.

“Dougie is mine now,'' said Matt, with a very proud look on his face and a smile. While there this no official diagnosis for Dougie, doctors basically said that he would always have the mind of a young child. However, Matt doesn’t fully agree with them.  He said,  “Dougie is actually very safety conscious and his level of thinking is higher than doctor’s predicted."

In year’s past, Dougie would go to ARI (Always Reaching for Independence) to work.  As time went on, it was decided that it was time for him to retire. But retirement didn’t stop Dougie from continuing on his daily regimen, riding his bike, collecting cans and various other items. However, he has slowed down a bit and a doctor told Matt that he needed to take Dougie’s bike away because it wasn’t good for his feet and ankles to be riding anymore. So he did and he gave him a cart instead. 

“Everyone was like, I can’t believe you took Dougie’s bike away! But, I was just following the doctor’s orders,'' Matt said. He also said one day while shopping he got a call from his son who told him that two women showed up at their house and dropped off a new bike for Dougie. By the time he got home, the women were gone and Dougie was so happy, he didn’t have the heart to  take it away from him.

“It’s not like he needed a new bike, but it was nice that someone did that for him. I don’t know who they were and I never got to say thank you to them.” Matt said

The family appreciates the generosity of the Stamford community. Unfortunately, while there are many who love Dougie, there have been some people over the year’s who have not treated him well and this behavior still continues today from people young and old. I can’t tell you how many times I have come to his defense and I know others who have done so as well.

My hope in writing this article is to shed some light on this warmhearted man is and unravel the mystery of “Dougie” so that the next time you see him, you will have a better understanding of the ‘gentle giant” we have all come to know and love. Happy Birthday Dougie! Wishing you many more happy, healthy years to come!

Robyn Blosio Bova is a Stamford native and a Realtor for Higgins Group.

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Comments (8)

bill.belcher.sf:

What a refreshing surprise. Our family lived in North Stamford for 33 years and Dougie was always part of our lives. Our kids all knew and loved him and while we're spread around the globe now, we are so happy to learn that Dougie is happy and still cruising the T.O.R. neighborhoods. Happy Birthday, Dougie!

manlymum:

Wow- That was a blast from the past reading about Dougie! I can remember a few wet kisses on the cheek from Dougie back when i went to T.O.R. in 7th and 8th grade (and im 47 now and living in Australia). He was always a sweet gentle person and im so happy to hear he is still healthy and riding his bike- what a legend ! Happy, Happy Birthday Dougie!

mmancini23:

Happy Birthday Dougie!! Growing up on High Ridge Road and working at A&P on High Ridge with your brother-in-law Chris, we would always see Dougie on his bicycle riding up and down the road. If you said hello to him he would always take the time to say hello back. God bless him and you Robyn for taking the time in written such a wonderful story about a gentle giant we all grew up knowing!!

robynb:

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. The love everyone is showing for him is just awesome! :)

robynb:

Thank you Sean!

warmheart:

It was such a pleasure to read this. Dougie sounds like a wonderful man and I hope that he has a wonderful birthday. How wonderful of those people to buy him that new bike! If only more people would embrace him and have a better understanding of him and what he is about. I worked for ARI back in the early 90's and learned about that population and will always remember how wonderful an experience it was working with that population. Wish more people would spend and take the time to get to know them as well! Thank you for writing this wonderful article Robyn!

robynb:

It was a pleasure to write about Dougie, and I'm happy you enjoyed reading it. Thank you for taking the time to comment and especially for your work with ARI.

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