This is a picture of the guys I had lunch with yesterday on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. They are jobless and homeless and friendly. Robert (centre) approached me offering to take my picture with the view of the Bay in the background. I hesitantly gave him my camera and after he took the picture, he mentioned that he had not eaten in a day, hoping that I would give him some money. Instead, I offered to buy him some food and he willingly accepted. We walked over to Subway and got some sandwiches and when I mentioned that I would like to eat outside down by the water, he told me he would introduce me to his friends.
He showed me where they hang out (and sleep) and I met a few of the guys there, including Santana (the man on the right - he claims Santana is his cousin) who sang a wonderful and heartfelt rendition of "Smooth" to me while I ate. Robert showed me the notes for the book he is hoping to write - a few scraps of paper with scribbles in red pen - and I wondered how an intelligent and personable guy like him ended up on the street. I am sure there were alcohol and drug issues (he asked me for beer and cigarettes and whether I did weed while we sat there) and perhaps some mental ones as well (the guy on the left seemed to be living in a world all his own engaging in animated conversations and actions by himself), and I never did get to hear Robert's story as he was soon distracted by his buddies and other goings on around him and taking more pictures for tourists who would hand him a dollar, but as I left him, I silently prayed that somehow, he would encounter the grace of God in a big way and be able to move forward in his life. If you have a moment today, say a prayer for Robert and his friends who, as he says, live with the best view in the city.
"Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it." (from Smooth by Santana)