I had to eat an ersatz dinner early, because of, all things, a camera club meeting. So at 5PM, I grabbed some Italian food at a “joint.” I just got out the door when Daniel was right in front of me. “Mr., do you have a few dollars to spare so that I can spend tonight at the Salvation Army?” I was totally off guard. The confused mind says “No”, and I declined. I am usually mentally prepared for this situation and would offer a few $$$ to be included in the portrait project. But the moment was lost. Or so it seemed.
I minute later I was driving past the next block and saw Daniel walking fairly briskly. A hundred yards later I found a parking spot, parked, and headed back toward him. Now prepared and with my wits about me (half of them at least) I approached Daniel and made a proposal. Deal accepted, although he was a little concerned where the pictures would be displayed, as he was on parole.
Daniel is from Sarasota, but never finished high school. He got involved with drugs and is not eligible for a GED. His family is financially well off, but will have nothing further to do with him. He told me which business they own, and I recognize the names from being on trucks; I see them almost every day.
After getting a few shots, Daniel said that he had to get moving, as the shelter dinner was in about 45 minutes. The Salvation Army was about a mile from where we were, so I offered him a ride. Approaching the Salvation Army facility is daunting. The homeless encampment at the perimeter looks like a refugee camp. While riding, he asked if I could increase my contribution.
No, not today.