This week's Pic of the Week is of Miamian Gary Rhaney and his bicycle, which he put together himself using a kiddy wheel in front and a regular sized, but tireless, rim in the back. He calls the contraption "my security system - you got a tire, they'll steal your wheel; you ride on the rim, won't nobody touch it."
We met Rhaney last week, shortly after publishing in Riptide a letter by Mimo Biscayne Association president Fran Rollason in which she exhorted Upper Eastsiders to take up, among other things, the following credo in their dealings with the homeless: "NO MORE FOOD; NO MORE MONEY; NO MORE JOBS."
Rhaney, himself homeless, was busily sweeping up the parking lot outside of Enriqueta's Cafeteria - a job he's had for two years. We thought we'd ask him what he thought of Rollason's letter.
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"You don't go and throw a person into the water, you throw them a lifejacket," says Rhaney. "[Enriqueta's owner] Jose gave me a chance - the lady who wrote that letter, she probably never gave nobody a chance."
Rhaney, who resides at various homeless shelters - the Salvation Army if he's got enough money, elsewhere if he doesn't - says that the his job has made a big difference in his life. "It made all the difference in the world - it raised my self-esteem." "Jose - you can tell he's worked hard for everything he's got and to earn his trust you have to work hard. And I did work hard to earn his trust."
Rhaney says he understands that panhandling can be obnoxious (before taking this job, it was his primary source of income, he says), but he urges better-off Miamians to have a little compassion: "You gotta pull people up, that's what this world is all about," he says. "The big fish, I don't think they should just eat up the little fish." -- Isaiah Thompson