Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
John is 34 years old and is confined to a wheelchair because he is a bilateral above the knee amputee. His amputations were the result of untreated diabetes and related wound infections. John has been living without shelter on and off since age 13. He is currently looking for stable housing. He wouldn’t say if he was currently under medical care for his diabetes. When I met John he was panhandling inside of a restaurant in Union Station asking if anyone would buy him something to eat. This behavior was sure to get him in trouble with the police so I persuaded him to leave with the promise that I would buy him some food in exchange for the photograph that you see. John was not very interested in talking about himself beyond stating the obvious about how hard it was for him being homeless and in a wheelchair. He was grateful for the food and I left it at that. I last saw him wheeling through the crowds in the main concourse asking for money for food. If you see or know someone like John, engage them in a conversation by just saying hello. Ask them how you might help at that moment and do what you can. You’ll both be the better for the experience.