Monday, 28 March 2011

I'm Your Homeless Guide!

Years ago in Atlanta for a conference I had the opportunity to take an evening walk downtown.  Almost as soon as I got started I was approached by a man who offered to be my "homeless guide".  He explained that panhandling (my word) was against the law and strenuously prosecuted but providing a tour guide experience for a tip was permitted.  I have no idea how close to the actual Atlanta by-law his explanation was, but I do know this:  I admired his entrepreneurial spirit, and the couple of hours we spent walking and talking were some of the most enjoyable I have ever spent in conversation.  

His view on life was different and enlightening on so many levels.  We argued politics and who was to blame for his situation, and conceded that both social and personal culpability have a part to play in homelessness.  At the end of the tour we shook hands, I tipped him well for his hospitality and I went on my way.

In London, England organized tours given by homeless people to convention delegates called Unseen Tours are a reminder to those of us in the conference and hotel industry are in the people business – not just the "people who can afford the hors d'oeuvres and conference rates" business.  We need more of this, in more places, and more often.


1 comment:

  1. Well said Jeremy. I know myself to be too jaded and am very inspired by your story. Looking forward to following in such positive footsteps in the future.