Disturbance at Tacquerias Guaymus

March 4, 2007

Last night, Michele, Manny and I drove down to Fremont for dinner. We went to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Taqueria Guaymas.

We were enjoying our dinner when this guy came into the restaurant, walked up to our table and asked us for some spare change. Shocked, the three of us all shook our heads and mumbled, ‘No’. He moved on, stopping at each table, hitting everyone up for some cash.

He was a white guy, maybe forty years old . If I’d seen him on the street, I probably would not have thought him homeless but that may have more to do with the overall fashion sense in Seattle than it did his look. Weirdly enough, he had a really nice black leather jacket.

All of us eating in the restaurant stared back and forth at one another as the guy walked over to a table that hadn’t been cleaned off yet. He gathered up the leftover food, went over to another table, sat down and started eating. He must have forgotten the Salsa for ‘his’ chips because a second later he went back to the table and started inspecting the Salsa dishes.

Everyone in the place (with the exception of the oblivious staff) stared as he leaned over the table and pawed through the dishes. That’s when his pants fell down. Yep, right there in the middle of el restaurante. He shot everyone in the place a great big Luna.

He didn’t even seem phased. He grabbed his pants, pulled them back up and continued his quest for Salsa. Finding nothing, he stunned us all with one more trick. He actually went over to the Salsa bar and filled up a couple of bowls with various Salsa, calmly walked back over to his table and continued his meal. He finished, made one more quick round of panhandling anyone he may have missed the first time and walked out the door.

I’m usually able to ignore the Seattle weirdness for the most part but this was too much. I completely lost my appetite, wasting a delicious plate of Chile Verde. Manny on the other hand, was facing the other way and missed everything but the initial round of begging. He was able to sit there and eat his Tamales, unaware of the drama unfolding behind him. It wasn’t until we got home that he heard the whole story.

I’ve only been in Seattle for five years so I don’t have a lot of historical perspective but it seems to me that the homeless problem has gotten worse over the past year or so. There are people asking for money everywhere. It’s to the point where some of my coworkers walk several blocks out of their way, to and from work, to avoid some of the worse areas.

Has anyone else in Seattle noticed this? What about other cities? What are the solutions? I support one of the local Missions because I know that my money will go for food and shelter instead of meth and alcohol but I don’t know how successful they are at getting people off of the streets.

I certainly don’t know the answer.



  1. I do believe that is one of the strangest stories I’ve ever heard. We have street people (is that PC?) in Indy but I think they pretty much stay out of your way. I did buy a guy a cup of coffee and a sandwich one day and he was very polite.

  2. First of all I want to thank you for helping homeless people through Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

    Homelessness is a difficult social problem. There are many reasons why people become homeless: economics; addictions; domestic violence; mental health issues (just to name a few).

    At the Mission, we help homeless people one person at a time. We give them every opportunity to break their cycle of homelessness and work through the issues that got them there. You mentioned food and shelter but we also offer programs that have case management; classes (life-skills; computer; parenting as well as others). We have addiction recovery and domestic violence programs.

    Through all of this, lives can change. Here are a few Seattle PI stories about lives touched by Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.



    If you would like to learn about homeless people first hand, come to the Mission – take a tour; volunteer. Homeless people struggle with many issues but they are still very human and deserve dignity, love, respect and help. That’s what we give them.

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