Another Installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
I noticed Tyrone panhandling outside the Brookland/CUA metro station this morning. What I saw was a seemingly ordinary looking man frantically running from person to person asking for money to buy a cup of coffee. Rather than cause people to pay attention to him, his behavior was having the opposite effect in that passersby were giving him a wide berth so as to not come too close. There was a coffee shop close by and I asked Tyronne if he would walk with me there and that I would buy him a coffee in exchange for a photograph. He was rather suspicious about that idea but agreed. Tyronne had almost nothing to say to me beyond he needed money for food. So I have no back story to tell. When asked how long he had been on the street, he just shrugged. Same response when asked where he slept at night. Interestingly when I took his photograph he would not look at me, even if I repositioned myself to face him. It was surprising that he agreed to the deal at all. After we were done, Tyronne said nothing, took his coffee and headed back to the metro station. I don’t know what to make of Tyronne’s odd behavior. He may be mentally ill or not. What does seem clear is that his style of panhandling is very counter productive and I would imagine his goal of getting money for food often goes unmet.