[Trending] I Spent Four Years Chatting With The Homeless, And Here’s What I Learned

One doesn’t always have change to spare, but when someone reaches their hand out, the least anyone can give, is a smile. This is how all th...

One doesn’t always have change to spare, but when someone reaches their hand out, the least anyone can give, is a smile.

This is how all the interactions I have with people panhandling start. With a smile. And a genuine “Hi. How are you?”

I’ve had amazing conversations with people on the streets, I’ve learned things about history and geography; I’ve learned about cultures I’m not from; about our society, about literature, art, and philosophy. I’ve laughed, and I’ve cried; I’ve both felt joy and anger; hope, and despair.

To me, these are so much more than pictures, or even portraits. They are memories; recollections of encounters that shaped me into the person I am today. I’ve grown more as a human being by speaking with all these people than by listening to all of the teachers who’s class I attended during my education.

And I’m sharing them here today for I hope they’ll make you want to stop, listen, and grow with these people too.

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This is Ozzy. His best friend’s name is also Ozzy

Fanny ran away from home, and her abusive step dad, when she was a teen

After posting his picture, someone actually hired Normand to do some construction work

They’ve been together for nine months

He used to be a professional skater. Went too far with the partying that comes with it

He has a wife, and a baby

He was a marksman in the Canadian military. Ok I have my doubts about the veracity of the story he told me, but still, it was a cool one

They taught me how to say Merry Christmas and Happy new year in Inuktitut (the Inuit language)

He plays Jingle Bells quite well

He told me about the time a little girl gave him her lollipop and it made him cry

He’s Inuk, and he married a Cree woman. Though it was a difficult for some people of their respective communities to accept, this was the happiest day of his life

He’s actually saving up money to buy a Playstation

They had just started saying “I love you” to each other

He taught me a lot about heroin addiction, and what withdrawal does to your body

He became religious when he quit using drugs

Her favorite author is Simone de Beauvoir

He used to work for the Cirque du Soleil

He’d probably convince the Grinch that smiling is the best thing anybody can do

Jake, the one standing up on the left, voluntarily overdosed himself a couple of days ago. He had been clean for 45 days then. He hated the fact that he loved heroin. He will be sorely missed by his friends

Katt definitely wins first place in terms of sign creativity

Mario went to prison after he killed the man who had just raped his little baby boy. He then lost everything

Fernand is probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met. And many people commented the same thing when they saw this picture on my blog

Gilles passed away in late 2016. He was Fernand’s best friend. They considered each other as brothers

He’s a rock’n’roll lover. Anything there is to know about the Beatles, he knows

He’s doing all he can to find himself an apartment and get back on tracks. But when you start from literaly nothing, there are many hoops to jump through

Reggie taught me a magic trick

Mostafa speaks 8 languages. Including Yiddish

I didn’t get to speak much with the gentleman, but I think the spot he picked for himself says a lot about his personality

I asked him what feeling he wanted his picture to convey, he said “Love.” And I snapped this as he was saying “I love my wife”

They taught me how to say “Be happy” in Inulktitut

She’s fighting the system to be able to see her daughter again someday

He had quit drinking a few months ago. He made the decision to quit on the day he set out to kill himself

He’s Cherokee

“We’re salt and pepper”. Salt was a military man, he’s decorated three times

Even though they each have their own place, Evan and Elizabeth sleep outside some nights, just to stay together

She once hit a man with a stick, because he had just did the same to his dog

They taught me that happiness comes from within. They said “We are happy because if they weren’t, then they’d be miserable”

Source: BoredPanda


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