Daniel the Prophet...

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I was running around in Clifton today and I stopped in Rohs Street Cafe for a quadruple latte. A man named Daniel was sitting outside smoking a hand-rolled cigarette watching the college kids as they walk by. He nodded to me as I entered and as I exited the cafe he asked me if I had some spare change. He was honest with me. He said, "I'm just tryin' to get some change for a beer before I go home."

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I told him that I didn't have any money on me, which was the truth, as I just paid for my coffee with my tattered debit card. This was a seven swipe transaction inside...that magnetic strip is just so worn out. I asked the man what his name was and I shook his grubby hand as I told him my name. His name was Daniel. I said, "Daniel the Prophet!" and he yelled, "Hey! That's what they call me!"

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There was change in my car though. Quite a bit of change actually. I had just parked in a garage earlier in the day that cost me $3.00. I had a $20 bill on me and the automated machine spit out 17 $1 coins as my change. Initially, my thought was, What the crap am I going to do with these?

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Thinking about my gold doubloons, I figured I could toss some of them Daniel's way. I grabbed 4 of them out of the car and I also grabbed my camera. I walked over to him and I said, "I've got 4 bucks with your name on it, but you've got to let me take your picture. I'm a photographer and you're an interesting dude...waddaya say?" He said, "DEAL!" and shook my hand.

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I asked Daniel where he got his collection of stuff on his necklace. He told me several fun stories and we laughed a good bit...the truly funny thing is how similar you find yourself to be with someone when you take the time to listen to them.

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We sat down and talked for a while...mostly about nothing. Daniel had a bag of half-rotten food items that he had picked out of the garbage. Originally he told me that it was for the raccoons, but later let it slip that the food was for him.

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My initial thought when I was approached for money was the normal one. Nope...leave me alone...I have nothing for you. Sometimes I don't go with my initial thought though.

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Sometimes it's worth just sitting down and talking to someone at eye level who probably gets looked down upon quite a bit. We have a lot more in common than you'd think.

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21 waggish utterances thus far...:

Synamon said...

His eyes just speak to you, dont they?
Its hard to remember that these dirty individuals who beg for your change are just PEOPLE who are down on their luck. Its easy to forget that most of them would LOVE a job so they can get out of their situation, but looking like they do, who would give them a second thought? If there was a way to break the cycle, get them the resources to get cleaned up (as in shower and clean clothes) then it would be easier to see that they are human beings who just need a hand to climb out of the rut they are in... not dirty animals.

I am glad you got the chance to talk to Daniel. He seems like he has MANY stories to tell! :)

Synamon

Mainly a midwife said...

beautiful pictures.

Weibs1 said...

You know, I love your blog. I only recently found it through PW. Truly, you make me think and make me feel. I try to teach my children about God and instill value, self worth and love for others in them. Sometimes though, it becomes easier to be a teacher than to be a student of what you are trying to teach. I was having a really hard time the other day with some......shall I say "negative" people and then I read your blog. You made me think and realize that I can overcome the negative people in my life, not let them rule me but also realize that they have things that they need to work through themselves. (I know, that's an awful lot from one posting isn't it!) Thanks- I appreciate it.

Josh Turner said...

This was a great post....seriously

Debbie said...

Ryan, I think it is cool that you have time for everybody. You are a caring person and you let God's love shine through you. Thanks for being an inspiration and showing us that kindness can come in the form of a little change.

kimmyk said...

i've always thought it was great when anyone would take the time to sit and listen to another man's story. we all have a story to tell, sadly not many want to hear it.

good for you that you took the time to stop and care.

Meghan said...

You are a good person with a generous heart!

Marianna said...

I was thinking about how I griped having to fork out some money to pay my kid's college books and then I read your post on this guy and was man.....you humanize THE human condition and I should realize how lucky I am in so many many ways....thanks for bringing me back to reality. Wonderful blog.

Laurie said...

"Everyone has a story."

My heart aches for street people. So many of them have emotional/mental issues. I myself have the same issues and it's only by the grace of GOD that I'm not one of those people. As I look back on my life I amazed at how much intercession there was.

Dude, WHY am I telling you this?

Erin said...

That's definitely food for thought before I lay my head down to sleep. Each post of yours makes me more grateful than the previous that I found your blog.

You truly have a way with people, that is clear. How you treat others is inspiring and humbling.

Andrew said...

powerful, brother....

Awesome pictures and story. As well as a different way for us to look at similar situations.

erin said...

wonderful... the photos and the words.

Cara said...

What a great story and pictures! Your website is amazing! My mom found it through pioneer woman and told me to start reading as i now live in cincinnati, I hope to make it up to your church one of these days!

but once again love todays post, what a neat opportunity and not listening to our judging thoughts

Cheri said...

Yeah, that post by Cara is my daughter!
Great post today. Since my kids went on a mission trip in DC and told me about their encounters and conversations with the homeless there, I look at these people differenly - through God's eyes.
Thanks!

calistalee said...

These are wonderful pictures! What a fascinating person! I'm so glad you have the courage to talk to people.

I don't think I've ever commented before - I found you via Ree.

Mandi (a.k.a MissMandiGirl) said...

It's amazing how your description and your photo's of this man can help me to see his uniqueness and how interesting he is. On any given day I might see someone like him walking by and see nothing more than a nasty old man, Judge not, right.

I am new to your blog, I found you thru the Pioneer woman, I look forward to your posts and I wish your church was near where I lived. It's one I might actually feel comfortable attending.

Michelle said...

Neat!

Nathan said...

dude i've talked to daniel several times, he is definitely an interesting dude and is pretty much a fixture at rohs st.

Victorious1 said...

Great blog.

Great photos.

And - we serve a great God...

Peace,

Janice Vandyk said...

Amazing pictures!!

Kay said...

So right on target. Beautiful words, and beautiful photos.