Living at Union Station : Knights in Training I passed him almost every day on my way to the Capitol. But like most, I scurried past without paying much notice. I never took the time to read his sign. The cardboard that names him — Rod Amis: writer, raconteur, bon vivant. Amis is am...
NPR logo Living at Union Station

Living at Union Station

I passed him almost every day on my way to the Capitol. But like most, I scurried past without paying much notice. I never took the time to read his sign. The cardboard that names him — Rod Amis: writer, raconteur, bon vivant.

Amis is among the scores of homeless people who camp at Union Station in Washington, DC. They watch the commuters and tourists come and go and hope to earn a little change.

Amis sits beside his sign every morning with a paper cup, stoked with a dollar bill. A good day will bring in $15 or $20, he says, enough to buy some cigarettes and a drink. Community groups usually bring food. The shelters will send vans at night to pick up those who need a bed. But Amis would rather stay put.

Amis is a journalist. A journalist who has slowly lost the use of his brain because of a vitamin deficiency often brought on by alcoholism. Now he spends his days panhandling in front of Union Station.

— Debbie Elliott

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