We pushed through and broke free of the crowd to the sidewalk. Chief Seattle kept me company and while I studied the bronze likeness under the glow of street lamps, a husky voice addressed me from behind, “I’m Chief One Feather, homeless, got anything for me?”
As my friend met his request I noted the shiner quickly developing under his left eye and a white, shining pearl caught the street light – a top tooth had broken through his bottom lip. Chief swayed forward, and back, balancing on the curb’s edge.
He smoothed his long, ebony hair back from his angular face and over one shoulder with shaking hands. He wasn’t drunk enough to ignore my stare; he laughed and exclaimed, “You should see the other guy!” then recounted the details of his recent bum-fight.
Cigarettes spent, story told, I asked if he wanted a ride to a hospital. Chief’s face slowly twisted in an expression of disgust, he spat at my feet, crossed the street and silently disappeared into the night.
Not a story I was hoping to read while drinking my English breakfast tea… But, still a good one. I guess, you didn’t spit back.
I didn’t spit back. I game more of a shrug and subtle head shake in response.
Worked in downtown, seen some nasty behavior of homeless… Not a supporter in general.
There is this guy i met had blood all over his body and when i offered help to take him to hospital he said if i can give him a little cash he will manage to hospital. I gave him cash . It was a shock to see him on a television carrying animal blood which he smear his body then out in the street to be given charity. This is soo bad.
He carried the animal blood to stage an injury, get pity and cash? Wow!
I stopped giving money to the homeless after living in NYC. I started keeping protein bars in my bag and offering them instead of cash. That’s when you realize how many just want money for drugs and alcohol.
I have friends who give out socks – homeless have a lot of issues with their feet. The power bars are a great idea!
Ah, so you met one of Seattle’s street residents? Their actually quite vicious. I’ve had a few encounters with some over the years, but in recent times I’ve become as condescending to them as they have been to me. Luckily you only got spat on.
One of the funniest instances is that my friend got chicken bones thrown at her when she refused to give money to one. Not sure why they believe they are more entitled than other street residents from other cities. Oh, well.
I lived in Belltown for a couple of years and try to get back when I can to visit friends who still live there. Pioneer Sq and 3rd ave from Pine to Bell were always my least favorite spots. This encounter took place outside the 5 Point.
In the words of the song, ‘Don’t look at me to see if I’m alright’.
But it’s a hard road to follow.
Nice story – at least he spat at your feet and not in your face.
It’s heartbreaking to see people in this condition. We do what we can- and hope that others follow suit.
Once I offered homemade food to one of the homeless people in SF, instead of asking for money, he asked for water… It took me a long time to figure out he was saying “water” because most of the homeless here have physical and mental problems. They probably don’t even know what pity is… Totally agreed to “but you can only offer to help in whatever way you can.”
Your experience with the water is intriguing. Sometimes they don’t want anything and other times they want your sleeping bag – but that’s a story for another day.
Well told. I guess he wanted money and the chance to share a story…but obviously not pity.
So many of them are often on the edge Colleen – but you can only offer to help in whatever way you can.
I am very familiar with the homeless during my career. On the street one day about 15 years ago there was one on a street corner with the ever clever dog and sign, “Hungry! Need money to buy food”.
Which 75% of the time = alcohol. I made him a full 9 x 13 casserole for the next day and stopped and handed it to him. He tossed in the street shouting, “Give me money!!” Ya.
In fairness, there are a ton of truly down and out good people in this world who are homeless.