“I am 62 or 63 years old, not sure exactly,” he told me after I exchanged $1 for one of the American flags he was selling in downtown San Francisco.
Standing up on the corner, with one of those plastic little tubes on his nose, from what appeared to be a little oxygen tank that helps him breath, Phillip, he said that was his name, was selling American flags with dignity, remembering that he is a veteran.
For the skeptical, I am already trying to verify with the appropriate agency. But who cares? “I am a Vietnam veteran” he told me.
He did not want a cup of coffee but he said yes to a bottle of water. Noticing that he looked too serious for a salesperson I said “smile and you may sell more flags.”
Pointing out to his closed mouth, one he barely opened when he spoke, he softly responded “I do not have any.” No teeth, no denture.
People kept passing by, some looked at him, others didn’t, other helped. It was around 3:30 PM on a sunny Wednesday in San Francisco. An old veteran was selling American flags to make a living.