Lawyers downtown help well-known 'Courthouse Candyman' battling cancer

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Rick Johnson is better known as the 'courthouse candy man' in downtown Houston. He's been at the corner of Caroline and Franklin Streets for a decade.

You often can hear him shouting, "Don't worry, be happy" to those on their way into court as he sells candy.

Lately, though, he's been missing. Eyewitness News learned Johnson is battling colon cancer.

Lawyers like Vivian King who've befriended him over the years are helping him with expenses and stopping by his house to visit him. A group even set up a GoFundMe account to help with his home care.

"Rick is one of our shining stars at the courthouse. He dances with us. He embarrasses us. He does not allow anybody to be snooty," King said. "I'm praying that a miracle happens."

Johnson spoke with ABC13 from his bedside. He said he is overwhelmed by the support.

"I ain't through crying. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Never in a million years did I think I affect so many people," Johnson said. "Don't worry. Be happy. Be happy. Don't worry. Jesus has your back."

"Is that your motto?" asked reporter Steve Campion.

"Till the day I die. Till the day I die," Johnson said.

Lawyer Deborah Keyser first met Johnson more than a decade ago. She said he was selling umbrellas outside the courthouse. On a sunny day, she suggested he switch to M&M'S. She even went to the store and bought the first box. He paid her back. She has continued buying boxes all these years.

"Rick is the heartbeat of the courthouse. It's been really quiet since he's been ill and not had him out there," said Keyser. "The courthouse is a place where we go in and there are so many tragic things happening all the time. It's always nice to have somebody upbeat and positive whenever where coming in and or leaving."
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