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Homeless Man Asks a Photographer to Take His Photo, Then Tells His Heartbreaking Story

When you see a homeless person, what do you do? Maybe you see them on the street corners and at the stoplights when you’re driving, or maybe you walk past them on the street. Either way, it’s heartbreaking. I think most people would like to end homelessness, but I also think most people aren’t willing to do anything about it themselves. It’s a lot of work to get up and go volunteer at a homeless shelter and most people don’t have the cash to spare, either. What do you do? Well, there’s not an easy answer to that question. But start with this. Treat them like they’re human beings. Smile at them and say hello when you walk past them, just as you would anyone else. Sure, making eye contact may prompt them to ask you for some money, but just say, “I don’t have any cash, I’m sorry” if you don’t. But treat them with respect. Enjoy this story.

“Hey man, take my picture!”

“I can’t do it It’s too dark.”

“Yeah. we need some light. Let’s go over there.”

“Are you homeless?”

“Yes, I am.”

“How long have you been homeless?”

“15 years. I’ve been in Boston 8 months. Before that I was in Washington, Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, Louisiana, Florida…”

“Why didn’t you stay in Florida? It’s so much warmer.”

“I wanted to see my family. But they don’t want to see me. They don’t understand depression. They treat me like dirt. Homeless people treat me better than my family.”

“And what happened 15 years ago? How did you end up on the streets?”

“I tried to burn myself twice. I had 30 surgeries. I was dead two times but God brought me back. I don’t know why.”

“And why did you do it?”

“I was depressed. Why you crying?”

“Because you are a beautiful person and my family is really messed up, and I’ve been very depressed. I think I can understand you.”

“Yes. I am a good person. And when you take people’s pictures don’t disrespect them.”

“No, man. I won’t. I like people. That’s why I take their pictures.”

“And when you make your portfolio don’t denigrate people. Let the pictures speak for themselves.”

“I will. Are you safe on the streets?”

“‘Yes. I am And now I have $8 to buy me some food.”

“That’s all I have. Next time I see you, I will give you more.”

“No, man. It ain’t all about money. Give me a hug. And next time you see me, give me a hug again. And thanks for taking my picture.”

Image: Leroy Skalstadt, Pixabay