This is Jersey

This is Jersey, I stopped to chat with him while out for a walk this morning. You may recall Jersey as I profiled him a few months ago. With businesses closed there are few street people out, but Jersey is always there. Periodically I stop to chat with him but it has to be the right time; if I see that he is intoxicated I keep walking. It’s not that he is threatening but more so simply annoying in his persistence to ask for money. The first time I spoke with him he told me his story and I didn’t post it then just as I will not now. It is too personal and I am concerned that some may judge. But what I will say is that it seems the system has failed him. When speaking with him it is easy to see why he cannot work and how he is trapped in the spiral of living on the street. When I stopped today he said he remembered me, that I was that “camera guy.” He seemed happy to talk to someone; I’ve seen people scream at him and call him all sorts of names in response to his asking for money. Jersey admitted that it was difficult right now because there are not many people around but he is getting by. At this point—surprisingly—he hadn’t asked for money, so I offered him a gift card to a local restaurant and he lit up. I asked if I could capture his image again and he said sure, then he pulled down his face mask and struck a pose. All of us want to be seen. All of us want to look our best, even on the street. And we all have that same sparkle in our eye—that same spark of divinity which is given freely and equally at birth—but sometimes it gets shrouded by any number of things. Today when speaking with Jersey that spark from within shone brightly and it helped me remember who we both are. Fellow humans on planet earth. As I parted Jersey went in the other direction excited to get a sandwich and fries for lunch. #peopleofbuffalo