"Spare any change?"
"Sorry, not today."
"Okay, have a good day."
We once had a humanities professor who said "You never have to give them money, but you do have to treat them with the same respect you would give anyone else you pass on the street." It stuck with us; so, we always respond, and then continue on our way. But everyone's experience is different, and the YouTube channel Andy Tells Stories
shares a very different tale. In the channel's latest episode, entitled "Homeless in San Francisco," it depicts Andy's struggles with the street population that called the same neighborhood home that he did: the Tenderloin.
The story starts out with an aggressive panhandler who isn't happy with Andy's 75-cent contribution to his pot of money, and then moves into a story of how Andy was at one time mistaken for a homeless person by those who live on the the streets of the TL. We have our thoughts and opinions on this subject based on our experiences, but the creative imagery and story is worth checking out; see what you think of it:
We reached out to Andy to find out more about his experiences of living in San Francisco, specifically regarding his interactions with the homeless, but haven't heard back yet. We'll update this post when he responds.
UPDATE: A response for Andy; he says he did meet a few nice homeless people. Here's one story:
"There was an older homeless man that hung out near the dorms I was staying at and he'd always ask me for money. I kept saying 'No, sorry' but he kept insisting it was for a very important reason. After a few days of him asking me for money, curiosity got the best of me, so I asked him "Fine! What's this important thing you need money for?"
He takes me to a CALA foods, we walk to the cheese aisle and he shows me some slabs of creamy brie cheese. He says 'My wife left me, and I miss her oh so badly. This brie cheese right here, the smell of it, the taste, it always reminds me of her.' I'm touched by this man's honesty, so I buy a slab and we split it two ways. We sit on a stoop outside of the CALA foods and he's gobbling the cheese down, smacking his lips. Then he looks at me with a face full of brie cheese and says 'I tell ya, this tastes JUST like my wife's pussy, it's unreal! Thanks for this, kid!'
I laughed a lot with that man that day, so long story short, yeah I met some nice homeless people."
While we've experience the gamut when it comes to the homeless population in San Francisco (we've been called some pretty awful names and have met some kind souls), our daily interactions with those who panhandle on S.F. streets mainly goes like this: