Photo of a drawing of the bottom of a pair of feet.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many people have been nasty toward me recently. I was talking to one customer about our mission when she sneered, “Get a job. You can do better than this.”

“This is a job,” I told her. “To help homeless peopleThat’s why we write the stories and sell the papers.” She again told me to get a job, to which I responded that this is a business. 

The woman ignored me and walked away. Fortunately, the next customer respected me, at least verbally. He said he had to get to work and hustled down the Van Ness Metro escalator.

A lot of people literally turn up their noses at me. “You’re dissing me,” I say. “Why do you do that?” No one answers, of course. They look at me like I’m stupid. I am not a nobody. So why do they treat me as less than human? That makes me really mad.

All this disrespecting and dissing affects my business. I feel less assertive and more fearful about approaching potential customers. How do these people have the right to make me more afraid to ask them to buy our paper?  

 I cope by talking to a regular customer I know respects and appreciates me. And I will not quit. I’m too old to get angry. In the end, the people who dis me are the ones with problems, not me. I like everybody. 

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.