This is Walter

Another installment of “Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC

Walter Thomas was sitting on the sidewalk near a busy Starbucks at Dupont Circle when I first saw him. He was holding his paper cup out to passersby and wishing them a blessed day. I watched the morning commuters ignore him for about 15 minutes before I said hello. When asked how I could help him he said that he only wanted a cup of coffee. I was happy to oblige in exchange for this photograph. Walter has been living on the streets of DC since 1990. He says he ended up on the streets because of his addiction to crack which resulted in him losing everything he ever had. He says he’s been clean and sober for a few years but it’s hard. Walter is familiar with the shelter system in DC and stays in a shelter on NY Avenue when the weather is bad. Normally he just sleeps outside in the area where he panhandles so as to get an early start. Walter is an affable, non-aggressive and polite man who inspite of those attributes is invisible to most who pass him by. I am always amazed at the optimistic spirit that some of the homeless seem to have. I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t be so pleasant under the same circumstances.


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