Characters of Union Station

If you go through Union Station every day, there are about two or three people you regularly expect.

First, you’ll see Andrew Bestor, who I have befriended over the years. His views are a bit unconventional in my opinion, but what do I know, I am just a tax and trade wonk. (Update 7/13/12: Sadly, I’ve been informed Andrew Bestor died last year.)

Andrew is there everyday distributing his literature. People will say mean things to him, but I have never seen him get angry with a soul. He remembers people’s names and genuinely cares about his cause, though I’ve never fully understood it.

Another individual there who is an institution is Peter Bis.

Peter is an enigma. He used to be in the Columbus Circle vicinity when I moved here in 2007, but has now relocated to the Exxon on Mass Avenue. Apparently, he struck a deal with the owners, cleans the parking lot, and presumably stands as sort of a watch-dog at night.

Last but not least, we have our two or three homeless men near where Andrew distributes his literature.

Here is a photo I took of one with my Holga earlier this year.

The kind folks at Prince of Petworth brought a new blog to my attention called The People’s District.

It’s kind of a photo blog with stories about the lives of D.C. denizens. They recently did a story on Lee, a relatively new addition to the Union Station cast.

Here is an excerpt:

“Seeing people respond to me makes me feel better about myself. It makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. Again, it is a little thing, but smiling can really make someone’s day and make them feel worth something, Sitting out here, I have never asked for a penny. To me, that is a big no-no. I don’t believe in shaking a cup. I believe in giving help when you can and showing respect. If someone decides they want to help, that is great. If not, that is no disrespect to them.

And Lee does not ask for money. Never a dime, which is why I bring him food from time to time when I take the Metro.

Have a great Friday.

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