Student, After Taking Lesson on Homelessness to Heart, Learns about Heartache

Monday, February 17, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- I met Olivia Wynkoop, a sophomore at San Francisco State University, on February 3 in a Journalism class. I’d been invited to share reporting techniques, and I talked about covering homeless and underprivileged communities in the East Bay.

Wynkoop, 19, took my words to heart.

On February 4, she took a homeless man shopping after meeting him on Muni. But the gesture left her furious, and not because of anything Gabriel did.

She was upset by how the employees and shoppers reacted to seeing her shopping with a homeless person.

“Security came up to ask me if I was OK as if there wasn’t a man beside me who was deprived of the basic needs we often take for granted,” she wrote me in the email the same night. “I would see people avoid him in aisles and gawk at him like he was a spectacle.”