This is Willie, a cheerful man who is currently living under the Burrard bridge. I was fortunate enough to have him tell me his story while passing out triple-berry jammy sandwiches this past weekend. Willie was polite and patient with me when I asked him questions about his life story, and gave me his enthusiastic consent when I asked for his permission to share it.
Willie travelled from New Brunswick to provinces all around Canada, including Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. He was back and forth between provinces to find work, but, unfortunately, to no avail. He held random jobs here and there as a dishwasher, but wanted to find things related to construction as he likes hands-on labour. Despite meeting tough conditions in life, Willie has remained positive and cheerful, which is exemplified in the message from John Lennon’s song that he would like to pass on to the people in Vancouver: “Give Peace a Chance” 🙂
While I was listening to Willie’s story, I was touched to find that a young man came up to him to give him an entire new souvlaki plate as well as a middle-aged Christian, Eddie, who offered to buy him food at McDonald’s and who was also kind enough to check on me. I was glad to have talked to Willie and gotten to know his story, which made me appreciate the kindness in people all the more.
Update (09/02/2015): I forgot to mention that I have seen Willie downtown a few times now, and every time when I go up and offer him a sandwich, he would always happily ask if it was a PB&J sandwich. It was actually very cute. Unfortunately I did not have peanut butter last week, but I do this week and I will make one especially for him when I go out again this weekend 🙂