The word “Intrepid” is on Hans Scheltema’s business card, and it’s more than just the name of his business. The professional line-stander prides himself on sticking it out, in all kinds of weather, on behalf of the lawyers, lobbyists and others willing to pay for a place in line at big events, such as arguments before the Supreme Court this week on the federal health-care overhaul.
But even a guy with supreme stick-to-itiveness has his limits.
On Sunday afternoon, after holding down spot No. 3 outside the Supreme Court for the better part of the day, he hired a homeless man to fill in for a few hours. Scheltema, 44, who had taken over Sunday morning for a guy who had held the spot since Friday, wanted to go home to recharge — both himself and his BlackBerry.
Xavier James Bannister, 34, was the stand-in line-stander. Scheltema was paying him $15 an hour, the same amount Scheltema said he was being paid by his client, whom he declined to identify.
Bannister has no interest in the health-care law that will be debated inside.
“It’s none of my business,” he said. “Either way it goes, I’m going to still be homeless.”
Scheltema, who said he made $50,000 a year standing in line last year, did take an interest in the case, though he didn’t want to be quoted on that in deference to his client. But he noted that his homeless subcontractor, who qualifies for Medicaid, has something he does not: health insurance.
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