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Friends and advocates say homeless senior who died in Vancouver Tim Hortons deserved better

West Broadway Tim Hortons location in Vancouver, B.C.
West Broadway Tim Hortons location in Vancouver, B.C.

A homeless man in his 70s named Ted is being remembered as a good guy who kept to himself.

His final hours were spent alone in a Vancouver Tim Hortons.

Ted’s friends say he would often take naps on the tables of the 24-hour restaurant on West Broadway and he’s not the only one.

They say Ted stayed at the Tim Hortons because he lived off of his seniors’ pension and couldn’t afford rent.

READ MORE: Seeking ‘hidden homeless,’ Metro Vancouver kicks off first-ever youth homeless count

John lives outside of the restaurant and says he has known Ted for 10 years.

He said Ted was alone for several hours the day he died until someone finally called for help.

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“[It] bothered me, you know what I mean… he was a good guy… and you know, among all the people… to be alone is quite the thing,” he said.

“He was a good guy and I hope he rests in peace.”

John said he wishes more people would care for strangers.

READ MORE: Housing crisis in B.C. pushing seniors to brink of homelessness: advocates

While Ted’s cause of death is unknown, friends say he had cancer.

Former City of Vancouver homeless advocate Judy Graves said Ted’s story story speaks to the severity of the housing crisis.

“There’s an increasing number of seniors in the streets because they can’t afford housing, and then you see Ted who actually dies in a coffee shop because he can’t afford housing.”

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Graves said she knew Ted.

READ MORE: 2018 Vancouver homeless count expected to surpass last year

“He’s a guy who’s always worked, he’s not familiar with the Downtown Eastside and most of our shelters are in the Downtown Eastside,” she said.

“Most of the single-room housing that might’ve been affordable to him is in the Downtown Eastside and he was afraid to go down there.”

According to the city, 2,181 people in Vancouver identified as being homeless as of March, 14, an almost two per cent hike compared to same time last year.

Tim Hortons has provided a statement regarding Ted’s death, saying, “We are aware of the incident and like other members of the community, we were saddened to hear this news.”

READ MORE: Seniors represent 23% of Metro Vancouver’s homeless population

“The individual was a regular at the restaurant and will be missed. We know that on May 30th team members became concerned about the individual’s health and called 911 seeking assistance. First responders arrived on the scene and transported him from the restaurant.

“We’re still reviewing all the details, however our restaurant owners and their teams have full discretion to take any steps necessary to help guests who require medical assistance, as was done in this case.”

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