Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raven - Homeless in Boulder

Yesterday as I drove out to get an early lunch, I saw a homeless guy begging on a median near my house. We don't get many people as far north as Gunbarrel, so I took an interest.

I stopped at home, grabbed my camera, and headed out again. On my way, I asked him if I could treat him to lunch. He insisted that he couldn't leave his stuff (a bicycle and a bucket) but that he would appreciate a bacon cheeseburger. I drove off in search of lunch for the both of us.

40 minutes later, I returned with Chipotle for me ($7) and a SmashBurger for him ($8)

We sat in the shade next to the train tracks and talked and ate. He told me a little about how he got into his current situation, and we discussed religion, politics and electronics. After we finished eating, he grabbed his chewing tobacco and I grabbed my camera.

Raven, a 56 year old transient, says he feels no guilt about playing "the faith card." He believes everyone has some kind of faith-based religion.

Sitting in the shade behind a railroad crossing control booth, Raven chews his post-meal tobacco.

A heavy limp and gratuitous use of a cane aren't part of an act - Raven routinely travels to Denver via the RTD bus system for medication that he can't afford on his own.

About one in every twenty cars will stop to give him something - though he rarely gets more than a dollar or two at a time. The light at Jay road and the Diagonal Highway is a long one, so people have plenty of time to fish through their wallets.

Raven is a shaman, here he explains one of the many out-of-body experiences he had shortly after his release from a 10 year prison sentence for "doing something illegal I shouldn't have."

This is where I left Raven - in the median right where I found him two hours earlier. He's on his way to Denver today, hopefully after getting enough money to pay for his medication and bus fare both ways.

I really enjoyed talking with Raven, and with any luck I'll be able to do this with other people in need in the future!

How have you made a difference lately?