Riding On Faith
Last winter my son and I were walking around downtown when we ran across a homeless man that we see often. He walked up to me and asked if I had any change so that he could fix his bike’s flat tire. I gave him what I had, he thanked me and walked away. Later on that day I saw his bike further down the street lying on the ground with a tire missing, so I stood next to it to keep an eye on it while also changing the lens on my camera. A few seconds later the gentleman emerged from a local store with tire in hand and sat down to fix his damaged inner tube. I finished attaching my lens, glanced up for a second and noticed the wonderful angle at which he held the tire in relation to his face. I instictively fired off a few shots. Not wanting to be totally rude I immediately stopped and asked the man if it was ok to take a few more shots to which he politely obliged.
He talked to me the entire time I shot him, telling me about his life, family and how he ended up living on the street. He was very intelligent and well spoken. I felt bad for him due to his unfortunate circumstances but, especially after he relvealed to me that he was also suffering from cancer. He explained that years ago doctors told him that he only had a little while to live but, here he still was, alive and well enough to talk about it. He told me about his very deep belief in God despite everything that he’s been through and how he firmly believes this is the reason why he’s still here today. After a few minutes he was able to repair the flat in his tire and told me he was off to try and find food. Surprisingly I found some more money in my upper jacket pocket, handed it to him and told him I hope it helps? He said a prayer for me. Then thanked me, not just for the money but for taking the time to stop and talk with him, and then he rode away. Whenever I’m in the downtown area I still see him. If I can catch his attention or get close enough to him I always try stop to speak with him.
This encounter reaffirmed my belief that not all homeless people are “bums” as we too often so callously refer to them. Every person really does have a story to tell, sometimes we just need to pay enough attention to listen to it.
(This is the first time that I can actually share these images because most of them were previously withheld for publication)