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Angry Homeless Guy

Joshua Lane / / 13 Comments

On my way home from work today (Sunday… yeah, I know) I passed a rather angry homeless guy. When I first spotted him, he was about a block away. As I walked a few feet closer, he got angry and knocked down a bike that was locked to a street sign. I don’t know what the bike ever did to him, but I should have crossed the street immediately. Sadly, I didn’t and at this point, he spotted me and we made eye contact.

This is where I made my first mistake: 1) DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT. I try to follow this rule when passing questionable folk on the street. I’m not generalizing the homeless here, I’m generalizing the crazies… some are homeless, some aren’t.

Anyways, we made eye contact and that’s when he asked “Do you have any change… I’m homeless and I’M STARVING”. To which I replied “Sorry, I don’t have any money on me”. This was, apparently, not good enough because he took a look at the ipod headphones around my neck and said “how can you NOT have any money, you have a $300 walkman!?”

Technically, it’s the $150 iPod shuffle, but I certainly wasn’t going to get into semantics. So, I just politely stated “Sorry, I don’t carry cash on me”. This was the second mistake I made: 2) DON’T GET INTO A CONVERSATION WITH THE CRAZIES.

My reply to his second statement meant that we were now on speaking terms. And it was his turn to reply… “Don’t lie to me. You have cash.” It was right at this point that I had just passed him on the street and began to pick up my walking speed. Unfortunately, he started to follow me. Oh dear god, he’s following me! He was also yelling things at me like “I’M HOMELESS”, “I’M STARVING”, “GIVE ME YOUR WALKMAN, I CAN SELL THAT”. Ah, city life… don’t you just love it?

For those curious… yes, I did have cash on me. But it was for the half-gallon of milk I needed to buy at the local convenience store. A store that was only a block away from where the angry homeless guy was. And guess where that guy was when I got out of the convenience store? Yep, right at the door. He was going through some trash, so he didn’t see me… thank god, or he would have been PISSED!

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Delightful thoughts & feedback about this article

Greg /

When the homeless start to get nasty about it, that’s when you start to look for the cops.

My dad, who worked in the city for 30 years, used to say “If you’re hungry, c’mon, I’m going to get a sandwich. You can join me”. They bail. It’s not a sandwich they want, its usually more liquidy than that…


I got into a fight with a homeless man this past fall downtown.

It was between classes at school and I had to move my car to avoid getting a ticket due to the timezones and permit restrictions, so once I was doing this me and 3 friends decided to pick up some shish taouks and pass by a friends apartment over lunch break to watch some 16mm footage that he’d shot on vacation in Geneva over the summer.

I double park outside this restaurant on Crescent St. and 2 of us run in to make a quick take-out order. We pull up a block further, park and all get out of the car and shuffle onto the sidewalk. My friends apartment is just up the street.

We had a little over 2 hours to kill and I was penniless, I only had my ATM card and a quarter for the meters. My friend passes me two bucks and I start to walk accropss the street to drop it into the meter.

We have these retarded new meters in areas of the city now where each available space will have a specific number identified on a small pole sign, and than usually in the middle of each block or sometimes accross the street, a machine will be situated where you punch in the numbered code corresponding your parking space and drop your change into a slot and are fed a ticket.

I think they do this so that cars can’t benefit from other people’s unused time; like on “normal” meters, if someone drops in change for an hour and than leaves after 20 minutes… the next person lucks in and doesn’t have to dig into his pocket. Either that or they just do it to piss everybody off.

Anyways, I start to cross the street towards this “machine” to insert my change and take a ticket and half way accross the street, some homeless guy approaches asking for change.

“Sorry brother, it’s for the parking meter” I tell him.

He seems really adamant about it though and escorts me accross the street proceeding to ask if I’ve got anymore change in my pockets and so on.

“Sorry, just this, it’s for the meter.”

He continues to harass me and I finally start to lose my patience.

“Listen, you asked me and I told you. I’m not giving you any change. There’s lots of people on this street, go bother somebody else.”

He gets the picture and turns away. I’m not paying much attention to him or where he’s headed, I just continue to the meter, punch in my number and drop in my change.

Now before I go on, I just want to make it clear that I’m usually a pretty generous and sympathetic person. If I pass someone on the street with their hand out who seems genuine, I usually reach into my pocket and offer whatever’s clanking around. Even if they just turn around and use it to buy booze or smokes, I figure it’s gotta take some weight if they’re going about it in such a way, right?

Back to the story… I’m still at this meter, drop the change in but before hitting enter on the machine though, I look at the time on the screen and feel it might be about 15-25 minutes tight.

I’d gotten 3 parking tickets earlier that month all while I was at school and wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen again.

I called to a friend across the street who was the only one waiting for me as the other two walked up ahead to this guy’s apartment. I ask if he’s got an extra quarter and he digs through his pocket and barely manages to pull out two dimes and a nickel. We’ve run dry but that’s just enough to get us by, great!

My finger sort of looms above the “enter” button on the machine for half a second and than looking back, I sort of jog a few steps forward into the street to meet my friend’s extended arm holding out the change, scoop it up and turn back to the meter to finalize.

I go to drop the extra change in and look at the screen which reads.. “transaction cancelled”. Huh??

I flick the change lever a half dozen times to try and retrieve the few dollars I’d inserted and nothing comes out. I stand there confused and thinking for a second than turn around and carefully eye the homeless man who’s now standing only a few steps from the machine and turning to walk away.

I walk over and stop him in his tracks…

“Did you just go and steal my change?” I ask.

He aggressively denies this.

I try rephrasing the question and ask again. He begins to get more aggressive and defensive.

A couple passing by, (they looked like McGill or Concordia students) turn to me and say that they saw him hurry over to the meter in the 10 seconds when my back was turned and fiddle with it than turn away.

I start to get really angry and demand that he give me back my change.

He tells me that if you wait too long without hitting “enter” on the keypad, the meter eats your change. Well he obviously knows more about parking meters than me being homeless and all. I’m sure he has lots of parking meter experience what with his invisible car.

I decide to humor him by inserting the remaining 25 cents that I still have in my hand from my friend, and having him stand in front of the meter and count how long it takes for this machine to eat the change. This does not make him very happy.

A minute passes with no result and he is obviously infuriated by this seemingly blatant acknowledgment that we all recognize that he stole my parking change. Normally I would have laughed it off and moved on but here we are standing on the sidewalk with no change and no cash and 2 hours to kill and unable to do anything about it.

I proceed to call him some choice names, again, pressing him to put the change back into the meter where he got it from.

He returns the aggression.

Some more harsh language is tossed around and than suddenly, out of nowhere and completely unexpectedly… he lunges forward at me and swings at my head!!

We both fall back and hit the concrete. Before I could respond or even make sense of what’d just happened, my friend lifts him off me and tosses him into the street. I stand up immediately, extremely pissed off at this point and somewhat disgusted that this fairly dirty and sketchy (and not the healthiest looking person) had just thrown himself on me, and I look and see him lying on his face on the road, and despite my urge to walk over and punch him in the mouth, I just turned to him and shouted a few more four-letter adjectives and than walked away. I actually kind of felt bad for the guy.

Anyone who resorts to stealing people’s change out of meters and than getting into potential fist fights over it, is obviously not up on such high times. Let him keep the money, he earned it, attacking me and now lying there in the street with probably a few scrapes and bruises.

I ended up walking into a cafe across the street and using my bank card to pay for coffee for both me and my friend and asked the woman to punch in an extra couple of bucks to hand me back as change.

We laughed about the incident later in class but just talking about it with my friend on the way over to this guy’s apartment got me really heated.. what a scumbag.

Anyways, that’s my angry homeless story. A little more exciting than yours.

I’ve also got a more positive one that involves the subject of filmmaker Ryan Larkin’s recent Oscar-winning animated short and several smoked meat sandwiches, but I’ll save it for another time because I’m tired and this post is long enough!


tmiller /

Have you seen superman homeless guy yet? Sooooo makes up for angry homeless guy. We also have angry yankee’s batting helmut guy on our block too. Talks to himself and flips everyone off.

Taleeya /

Why didn’t you just give him your iPod? And seriously, like you really NEEDED that milk.

Couldn’t you have just said something like “Hey, I just moved here, I just set up my apartment, have a brand new TV, why don’t you come crash at my place?”. And You could just sleep on your couch for a few months! ;)

mattE /

This one time when me and my friends were walking back from a party in downtown Vancouver, and this homeless guy came up and started asking us for some money, we all politely said we have no spare change and he left us alone, the funny thing is that when he was walking away we noticed that he had these brand new Nikes. We all realize that they are obviously stolen but its funny none the less, that this smelly old homeless guy had nicer shoes than us! Yeah my story doesnt really involve an angry homeless guy just a really funny one.

Puddin /

I very much disagree with what Taleeya said. I think that you did the right thing by not giving the homeless guy your iPod and by going to buy your milk! It was your money and you can do what you want with it. Also, YES you should be very happy that the homeless guy didn’t see you leave the store after you said you didn’t have any money because you would definitely have a problem on your hands.

Theresa /

A lot of the homeless people around Philly are from the old mental hospital that closed down, so a variety of them are quite unstable, so interacting with them is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

There’s the megaphone bum. He has a bunch of signs plastered to his hat and cart and he used to have a megaphone that he’d scream obscenities into at 2 am.

And the “Hey man, you got thirty five cents man?” guy on 15th and Chestnut.

And the homeless guy outside of Wendy’s on 15th and Chestnut who sits on his crate and opens the door for people every now and again and yells when they don’t give him change when they leave the place.

And then again, there’s the summer bum who has his “I’m too lazy to work” sign on 17th and Chestnut that’s infuriating.

There are SO many homeless people, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re going to get mugged.

Andrea /

I had a problem with someone in Suburban Station one day about a year and a half ago. I went down in the afternoon to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee when this guy asks me for change. I said no, got in line, got my coffee, and gave my leftovers to the tip jar. Guy sees this and confronts me about it, and I tell him I don’t have aything for him. I turn to walk away and he yells after me “What about my money? Give me my money!” That just got to me, and I raise my voice back, “Excuse me? Your money?” and I take a step forward. A couple people had stopped and were watching us, and the guy got nervous, gave me the finger and walked away.

Much more pleasant than the woman needing change for the bus. I’d often seen her around 4th and Market between 9 and midnight; she always wanted 4 quarters for a dollar so she could get the 57 and got very irate when I told her that the bus does indeed take whole dollar bills.

tigerous /

I haven’t had much problems with homeless people. Once when we were living in North Dakota, we let this one homeless guy stay in our garage for like two weeks with his dog (it was a beautiful black lab). It was the middle of winter and sleeping under a bridge when it’s like 20 below 0 probably wasn’t a good idea. The fact that he had a dog with him, probably contributed a bit to us helping them out. We also gave him food and some clothing. Eventually, we found someone he knew that could take care of his dog for him and we got him into this rehab place. The next time we saw him, he looked a lot better and actually had a job at Kmart. I am so much more likely to give someone food or clothes than money. The homeless people here in Pittsburgh are considerably more aggressive than they were in North Dakota and many of them have a lot worse problems psychologically as well. Needless to say, I try and avoid them as much as possible.

wafelenbak /

I have to agree with Greg. Long before I even lived in the city of Chicago, I was taught to carry granola bars, McDonald’s coupons, and business cards to social service agencies while walking downtown/in heavy tourist areas. If the beggar won’t take any of them, just keep right on walking.

Satan's Poor /

Some of you selfish people may very well someday find out what it is like to need something that is not in this present evil world with your name on it. Take a look at the U.S. drought monitor. Take a look at all the bizarre natural disasters that are flooding, burning, or blowing away the houses of rich and poor alike. So far many of these houses are replaced before too long of a time. Satan offered all the kingdoms of this world and the “glory of them” (not the shame of them did he show Him) to Jesus if He would worship him. Jesus refused. Satan’s world is not a happy place. Satan’s ways and means make a few people well housed, well fed, and well balanced and others not so much so. The Word of God says “Woe unto you who are rich” What God calls rich may not be what you or I call rich. God might call rich the man who comes out of a convience store without a couple of oranges for the angry homeless man. Again I challenge you to take a look at the U.S. drought monitor and if you are ever someday homeless, hungry, or thirsty for water tell your creator that He owes it to you. Tell Him how much you deserve it more that that other person. It is interesting to note that my comment is the only one so far that mentions God. And yet while I do not believe in Christmas because I believe it is Pagan. And while some Christians might would shun me because I take no part in the Christmas holiday season My sincere belief is that each and every one of the comments I have read were written by people who will be exchanging Christmas presents with friends and relatives in about four months. Supposedly they will be celebrating the birth of someone who died for their sins. Thank you.

educated /

Dude are you serious? not everyone in the world is Christian, despite what you may believe… And selfishness is not characterized by a denial to acquiesce to another’s selfish demands. L2Perspective and while you’re at it teach the homeless some manners.

Medal77 /

The homeless what can I say about the homeless. One confused me for Serial Killer Charlies Ng (despite Ng’s incareration in San Quintin (I was a volunteer in Calgary). you know that old man on Terminator who asks Sargent Reese (Connor’s dad), if he saw a braight (bright), layte (light). This similar loking old man comes up to me, and asks “Are you Charlies Ng????”. (same voice). Ummm yeah. They let a violent serial killer serve FOOD to the homeless, without worrying about him poisoning the food. See? This is what alcholism does! it turns honest citizens into stupid old men, who resemble Klondike-California Gold miners.

-The same place, a homeless old hag decides to throw her buring HOT MASHED POTATOES AT ME. Stupid aborginal old Crow.

-Yet another homeless young goat boy looking Ontarian (you know those Eastern Rednecks, hockey hosers as I like to call them). He decides to try and choke me, but I butt tossed him and kicked him.

Can’t believe the nerve of these Homeless we try to help them and they get angry. Fine then die on the streets for all I care. Stop wasting precious resources for those who give a damn about life.

Now then the latest fiasco with the homeless. While coming home from another evening of breathing putrid scent of defeated humans. I was accosted by some aborginal, wanting to go back home to his reserve, and lacking the 1 dollar needed in bus fair (news flash Big Chief Nohomme Thunderbutt, Greyhound doesn’t care about the one dollar, they’d just sell you the ticket, just to move the line along for expediency). And like a few measly nickles and dimes would actually help them out that night. I don’t know he was gabbering on about something…. so I said “I’m broke”. And he said “So you can’t help us out”, again as if a few cents would actually help him out geeze. I told him I just volunteerred at a Homeless Shelter, that’s how I helped out. But I’m just glad that the Seed moved the main shelter out in the factory district, and away from the downtown (there are less and less panhandlers and undesirable people lurking the alleys). The Center downtown is specifically for those in a program like Step up (2 year transitional housing plan to help rehabilitate the homeless).

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