I had to stop and learn about this man.
And yes, it was the Make America Great Again hat that caught my eye.
You don’t see many people in blue-dominated Denver wearing them and to see a man panhandling while wearing the iconic hat piqued my interest since I love little anecdotes, moments of irony and unusual stories.
For about 10 minutes I spoke with this man just outside my news station as he panhandled with his dog, Jameson. He had a sign that said, “Sharing is Caring Anything Helps Thank You.”
He says his name is Casey and claims to have worn the hat since President Trump’s first day in office. Early in our conversation, he pointed out he is black and part Native American and has been sleeping on Denver’s streets for the past week.
He’s originally from Oregon, but recently arrived in Denver from the Grand Junction area.
Casey comes across as a jovial man, quick with a handshake who is eager to explain why he wears the hat, which is a bit hard to follow.
Based on our friendly chat, I still can’t tell if it was a dare from a friend, an expression of art, or if it’s just to grab attention from drivers who may have extra cash.
Casey calls himself an artist and a “photographer” who is traveling the country to do “good deeds” while wearing the Make America Great Again hat. Later, after we spoke, I learned he called my station earlier asking for a news profile on his effort to spread his “good deeds.”
I asked Casey if I could direct him to any resources in town for homeless help. He didn’t seem interested, saying the homeless shelters “are too dirty” and that he makes plenty of money panhandling to cover his hunger.
His dog Jameson seemed active and healthy when I reached down to introduce myself to the little guy. Jameson had a little bowl of water next to Casey’s cart as he cooled off in a bit of shade.
I asked Casey several times if he was a Trump supporter. Each time, he would laugh, step back and repeat “I’m just an American.”
Our friendly conversation ended, and I left Casey wondering about where he and Jameson would sleep tonight as thousands of other people in Denver make the pavement their beds.