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Matthew Hay-Chapman's Story

I met Matthew in 2015. He was sleeping on a bench in the middle of the Golden Gate National Park in San Francisco. I only had $5 left in my wallet, but I approached Matt, put the money in his shoe he woke up, we shook his hand and chatted a little. I said that I wished to hear his life story, but I could also see that he was tired from a long day, so I gave my email address, and within the next couple of days he emailed me his story. Below is the content of that email - unedited and raw. It’s a sad story, but I felt it needed to be shared.

An amazing thing happened after this story... Matthew recognized a wanted criminal in a Starbucks from the newspaper. The police came, and initially tired to arrest Matthew, but when they realized it was indeed the criminal, they gave Matthew a healthy amount of reward money, and his life is slowly turning around. :-)

Andrew, thanks for the interest, but I'm not to sure if I'm at all interesting. My story is this grew up near Reno Nevada (the mountains) in a large family. I have 10 siblings. 8 brothers and 2 sisters. My dad was a career US Airforce military man,, both my parents are from the san francisco-berkeley area. My parents raised all of us in the catholic church including schools. I was a Carpenter and Building Engineer most of my work life I'm soon to be 55 years old. I have a 33 year old daughter Sarah is her name she was born a "premie" she weighed 1lb. 5 oz, , due to a brain hemorage she has multiple handi-caps severe cerebral-palsy, hydrochephalus and mild to severe mental retardation, Sarah's brother Allan is now 30 years old, Sarahs in a state home for the dis-abled she isn't allowed to eat or drink foods due to a severe gag-choking reflex.

My son Allan is a very gifted artist, but due to some very seriously bad life circumstances he and his ex-girlfriend about a year ago lost custody of there 2 children ,, Tree (3 yrs old) my granddaughter and her baby-brother Zecharia (1 yr old) to the State of Oregon Child Welfare Protective Services. My son and his ex-girlfriend Penny is her name ,have become addicted to hard-drugs , Penny crystal-methamphetimine and my son has opiate related addiction issues. I myself during this time , about 18 months ago have become a homeless person as you and your very kind friends observed yesterday evening at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. I left my last employment as a night-manager for a small boutiqe-style hotel in Union Square, due to personal health related issues and I was also traveling to Oregon to attempt to help my son allan and my grand-children , but I wasn't able to gain temporary custody of them so they went straight into the foster-care system in oregon.

Right now presently i'm dealing with a serious health issue s anxiety-depression about family relations and physically ,, in both my feet called peripheile-neuropathy and I just have made attempts to seek medical care and HELP for the severe pain originaly started after I injured my lower-back 15 years ago in a work-related accident while lifting and turning and twisting causing a bulging disc, stenosis and some other 'big' long word that i can't pronounce or spell , and I fear that I have diabetes and problems associated with this disease on top of all this , and by the way please forgive the poor gramar and bad spelling. I have a huge phobia of doctors and reluctance to even care about my health just been struggling and attempting to manage all these crisis/problems are just so overwhelming well I'm still alive and above ground so if you would like to know more or anything else or have some wisdom or knowledge.

-- Matt Hay