Another installment of The Invisible Ones of Washington, DC
I met John recently in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. He was sitting on the sidewalk with a paper cup, passively panhandling. Even though this is a very busy area during the morning rush hour, John had nothing in his cup. I asked him about that and he said it would probably be better if he were a little more friendly but he wasn’t feeling that way. So, like so many people living on the streets without shelter, John is invisible to all who pass him by. John estimates he’s been on the street for 20 years or more. He prefers to sleep outdoors because the shelters are dirty and dangerous. He is very familiar with the array of services offered by Churches and other non-government organizations so he is able to get by. John does not appear very sociable, but if you take the time to engage him he is quite affable and has stories to tell. John agreed to participate in the Invisible Ones photo project in exchange for a monetary donation. If you see John or know someone like him, stop and take the time to say hello. Ask if you can help out in some way. The simple act of saying hello will make someone who feels invisible, feel less so. You’ll both be better off for having had that experience.