Today, had an interesting encounter at the hot dog stand.
So, there are quite a few homeless people who hang around Union Square. There’s this one guy, who wears a hat, a yellow and blue jacket, and he looks of Asian descent. He occasionally begs customers for a hot dog at our stands, and most times someone eventually buys him a hot dog. Today, he was approaching an Italian woman about buying him a hot dog, and my co-worker was just telling him (kindly yet bluntly) that he could not beg standing so closely to our customers. It is indeed a law/rule that people cannot beg/solicit so close to a business…anyway, the guy became super defensive against my co-worker, and an argument ensued. The whole time, I was standing behind the cart with the food, trying to monitor the food temperatures.
Next thing I knew, I heard a bag of chips fall from the rack and I thought the homeless guy had tried to steal a bag of chips, my co-worker yelled out “YOU MOTHERFXXXER!” and I heard the homeless guy run off.
Me: “Did he try to steal…?”
Co-worker: “No, he tried to, but he just smashed the bag of chips on the counter. Hmph.”
Meanwhile, we still had our Italian customer standing at the cart, a little spooked by the encounter, but nonetheless still ordering a hot dog and paying for her food. My co-worker then focused on the customer, but I noticed the homeless guy coming back to our stand and I felt a little scared as to what he was going to do next. I saw him approach the condiments section and then I heard a loud “SQUIRT”.
The Italian woman gasped and then turned to my co-worker, asking her if she had seen what had just happened. I went around to the front of the cart and saw that the guy had just made a mess with the mustard by squirting it all over the sidewalk. How….smart.
After that encounter, my co-worker and I stood behind the cart, ranting about how “lucky” the homeless are in the city. They have so many shelters they can go to for food, and so many tourists come by and feel sorry for the homeless so they are able to gain a lot of money through their begging. The weather stays temperate year-round here, so they never have to freeze to death. And what was the point of the guy for harassing us anyway? My co-worker was being as polite as she could towards him, but he took huge offense against us.
It’s not our problem that he’s homeless; it’s not like he can’t help his own situation.
Anyway…after that incident, my co-worker said that next time she’ll take a picture of the guy and report him to the police/security at Union Square. We’ll see what happens next.