Every morning I would see him in front of a
bar on the first block on Sutter Street.
George would usually be resting on a garbage
can, reading. Frequently, I would go into Café Bianco to
buy him a cup of coffee and a bagel. He was a very bright, articulate
guy and we had some interesting chats.
George had a terrible cough and emphysema,
but smoked! I talked to him about quitting, but never made that
One morning he asked me for ten dollars. He
would pay me in the afternoon, as soon as he cashed his Social
Security check, which he showed me.
I gave him the dough and after my lunch at
Café Bianco, I saw him at his perch. He beckoned to me
and gave me a "fiver." He had some convoluted excuse
and told me he would give me the rest "tomorrow." He
A few weeks later I was surprised to see him
at his spot on a Saturday morning. We got talking when he complained
of some chest pain and asked me to call 911.
A few minutes later, both a fire truck and
an ambulance came and hauled him away.
A week later, there was George, reading on
his garbage can. So what happened? He told me he was released
after a week and was just "fine” now.
Still smoking, still coughing.
A month later they took George away for the