TITLE: Have a Nice Day

MEDIUM: Photograph

I came across this guy sitting on the concrete and snow at the doors of the Lloyd D. Jackson Square shopping mall in Hamilton's Central neighbourhood. He clearly showed signs of a severe social disability, and it's quite possible that he had a learning one too. Frankly, in this appearance obsessed world, he was unlikely to get himself a job that could sufficiently sustain himself because he didn't have the right look. This was a man who needed every bit of compassion and help that he could get.

He saw me coming but didn't ask me for "spare change" as other panhandlers typically do. He didn't say anything, and barely even looked up at me to make eye contact. I had a two dollar coin in my pocket and put it in his little Tim Horton's wax paper coffee cup. He suddenly brightened up and told me to, "Have a nice day!" in the warmest, most sincere manner.

I've experienced numerous panhandlers say that to me before or, "God bless you!" or "I appreciate this, you’re really helping me out," or something like these. More often than not, such statements sound like just an over-rehearsed line. The way this old man thanked me, however, seemed absolutely genuine. To think that he was praising me who; not being financially wealthy, practically did live spoiled rotten by comparison to him. It is me who should be wishing him a day in the sun, so I returned the compliment as I entered the mall.

I posted this image onto my online Flickr account and into the Street Photography Now Project. Instruction #15 of the SPNP was from celebrated New York based street photographer Melanie Einzig. Her comment was, "Nice story and tough photo to look at." In knowing that there wasn’t too much more that I could do for the old man at the time, this image was really tough for me to make.

Art for Charity: 100% net proceeds from the sales, rentals or leases of this image will be donated to a charitable organization, of MOF’s choice, that is genuinely committed to poverty and homelessness reduction initiatives. Contact MOF to inquire which charitable organization is targeted at any given time to receive the proceeds.

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Return to Steeltown Neighbourhoods Gallery

Return to the Central Photo Essay of the Steeltown Neighbourhoods Gallery

To Hamilton City Gallery and Photo Essay

God's Messenger

Sidewalk Prayer

Holding On to Love

Showin' 'Em How It's Done


Blue Collar


Keeping Our Distances

Reading On

George Street


Have a Nice Day

Contact Allan Hamilton