My New Friend Lives in Washington Square Park

I spent two hours with and had lunch with a new friend today that lives in Washington Square Park. Yes, my new friend is homeless.

Tariq shall be sleeping in Washington Square Park tonight, since he would rather be on the street than in a shelter with others that he says he can't get along with.

I met a good, smart and decent man that has gone astray because of bad choices in his life. He has no excuses, he considers himself a "crook." Tariq served time in jail, sold drugs, guns and now lives on the street with an alcohol problem. However, he is generous. He shares his food and possessions with others and share his witty infectious smile and laugh to all. He, also, has some great stories and my talk with him today opened my mind to realities I would never have considered.

I met Tariq for the first time today. I was out obtaining petition signatures to get on the ballot for the NY York City Council's Democratic Primary. My day was interrupted, but blessed by the stories and humor of the man you see below. A man that never asked me for a dime and was just interested in a little humanity.

I don't pretend to have all the solutions to the problems of the homeless. However, I was taught by my family and Catholic schooling that we need to treat all with respect and that all life has value. I thank my Catholic upbringing for this. I think a little humanity can lead to a humanity tsunami. Be good to everyone, say hello to your neighbor and drop the indifference. I promise it shall lead to special days, like the day I had today.

Sean Hayes

(Candidate for New York City Council in District 1)

Pragmatic Solutions through Experienced Leadership

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