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meet cj

So here's the story...


I have seen this guy downtown before and never got the nerve to ask him for a photo. Today I walked by him and heard him yell to the UPS guy, "Hey! Your truck is brown!" and he flashed the guy a sweet, toothless smile. I knew right then that I would like him so I sat on the bench next to him and asked his name.


He is CJ and he jams his guitar at night for money. He is always on the same bench with all his stuff underneath. He is a sweet and gentle soul. I asked him where he sleeps at night and he said in a doorway down the street. He told me last Thursday at 3am was crazy and I immediately knew what he was talking about because the sound of the rain and hail coming down so hard I thought my roof would cave in, woke me up. He said at that moment he wished everyone could have been out there with him just to see what it can be like.


We talked for awhile and he told me about his daughter who lives near me. He beamed when he spoke of her. I had put 3$ in my pocket before I saw him to give to him but after talking with him, I wanted to give him the last $20 in my wallet. You should have seen his face when I gave it to him. He was shocked. He told me it would allow him to get a gift for his daughter and feed him for 2 days. I wanted to cry.


He asked me if I would bring him a hard copy of the photo so he could try and get a gig by dropping it off at a club. I told him I would definitely be back and he kissed my hand.


I wish my measley $20 could get him out of the awful jam he is in but it cannot. I think him and I will be friends though....


Mission 24: Jam


And just for fun - listen to one of my very favorite songs by The Jam - Town Called Malice


This picture is of stranger #1 in my 100 Stranger project. Find out more about these projects and see pictures taken by other photographers at and

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Taken on December 17, 2008