By Tayler Searcy
The only difference between the homeless and the rest of society is the rest of society can hide their issues behind money, whereas the homeless are forced to face their problems head on. Vendor David Gordon has experienced both sides of this equation. David was born and raised in Denver, and attended Denver schools.
“I graduated from Denver East High School in 1980,” David said.
At 52 years old, David has spent most of his life in the Denver area, except for a four-year journey to Phoenix, Arizona. David found a sales job in Arizona, where he was able to support himself; however, he never found a sense of connection while living there.
“I was working a job, making tons of money, but I never felt the connection I had in the Denver metro area anywhere else,” David said.
David left Phoenix after four years, and came back to the Mile High City in hopes of creating those personal connections he longed for.
Abandoned by his father at seven, David has spent the rest of his life struggling to find human connections and relationships.
“[Being abandoned] affected me in many ways I never could have imagined...Most of my life, I never felt any sense of emotional connection or relationship, because I was scared to feel that way,” David said.
David explains he has only been physically homeless for four years, but has been emotionally homeless all of his life.
“I didn’t have a connection anywhere before I became physically homeless. I would just wander around, doing drugs, working, and being lonely. I became physically homeless in 2010, because I was doing drugs, and just looking for anything and any group of people to make me feel better,” David said.
“I was searching for power outside of me, when I should have been looking inside of me.”
It was at this point in his life David met a man named Tim, on the corner of 16th Street and Broadway, who was selling the VOICE.
“I met Tim when he was selling the VOICE. We had similar lifestyles, and he told me how the VOICE worked. Tim was the first one I made an emotional connection with because I understood what he was saying,” David explained.
David fought against his fear of relationships, rejection, and abandonment, and began making those human connections he so desperately needed.
“Selling the VOICE has taught me to fight against those fears. That same fear comes up sometimes when [customers] don’t buy a paper from me, but I have learned to draw strength from that rejection,” David said.
Regardless of being physically homeless, David says he has never felt more comfortable being himself.
“I can connect with people that do care about me, and I have realized I do have a place on this planet. I am moving forward,” David said.
He is grateful for the encouragement he has received on his various corners in Denver.
“I want people to know I am grateful and thankful for many people I have met on 17th and Broadway, and 11th and Ogden. I can’t list them all, but they know who they are,” David said.
These individuals have helped David find an inner strength he never was able to see before.
“I want to thank them—again, they know who they are—for the power they have helped me find within me. They taught me to hold my head up high and not be ashamed of the mistakes I have made in my life,” David said.
As of now, David is striving to keep moving in the right direction.
“I am building a resume, and moving forward. I am not trying to forget the past anymore, I am just working towards not carrying the past with me anymore,” David explained.
“My past wasn’t filled with abuse, or stuff like that, just that feeling of loneliness.”
When he is not vending the VOICE, David spends his time watching sports.
“I am a huge sports junkie. I am a huge Colorado fan,” David said.
He still enjoys watching the same teams he grew up loving—the Denver Nuggets and Denver Broncos.
David also loves learning.
“I honestly think I love learning more at an older age now, than when I was at a younger age,” David said.
Stepping into the future, David has many goals he wants to reach—professional and emotional.
David hopes to pass on his knowledge of what being homeless is really about.
“I think carrying on my knowledge is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with the homeless issue. I live it, explain it, and pass it on. That is truly why I think I am here,” David said.
If anything, David really wants people to understand that being homeless is not a crime, or something dirty, or something anyone should fear.
“Even when I had a roof over my head, I was homeless. I feel I give more now being physically homeless, than I ever did when it was just about the money.”