A fellow I barely know but who used to be a regular binner in the Fairview back alleys popped into the McDonald’s on Broadway at Granville around 7 p.m. on June 9 just to say hi to me.
Even though he doesn’t know my name and never liked me when he was binning, he’ll want to say hi like this whenever he see me there.
Back in the day he was an aggressive SOB. These days, he’s mostly soft-spoken and polite—perhaps because he’s usually pretty drunk.
But sometimes stuff still sets him off—in which case he’s just like he used to be in the back alleys.
So there we were. He was asking me to use my laptop to help him navigate his way through the transit system, which was a bit ironic as things turned out.
He didn’t need to take the bus after all
We were just getting on to TransLink’s Trip Planner when two TransLink transit security guards came into the restaurant and right over to us.
I looked for and spotted their black Dodge Charger parked ahead of the bus stop out front. It was likely that the security guards had been following him for whatever reason.
One of the guards asked me if the fellow was a friend of mine—I think to check if I was being harassed.
I said he was my friend.
Then the guards asked him politely to step outside with him and assisted him in complying with their request. It seemed they were trying to get him away from other people as quickly as they could.
Things were calm outside and I went out to ask him if he was okay. He said he was and pointedly told me to walk away—more than once.
The transit security guards were very proper with him but very firm and very wary, it seemed.
Actual Vancouver Police officers arrived quite quickly—with a paddy wagon.
He only became agitated and belligerent as they were putting him in the paddy wagon.
Two different people subsequently told me about incidents, one downtown at a major bus interchange and another at the intersection of Broadway and Granville—either, both, or neither could have involved the fellow the police took away.
All I know is that the response—two TransLink transit security guards, three Vancouver Police officers, and a paddy wagon—was more than you would expect to see for someone who had simply failed to pay their bus fare.
I’ll make sure to ask my “friend” about it the next time I see him.