Broward News

Homeless Man in Fort Lauderdale Prefers to Be Called a "Street Ninja"

Inside a Miami Shores Starbucks, a 34-year-old with tangled hair and a slight limp shakes his head at the green-aproned baristas while he tries to order a simple coffee. "The one with milk. A latte? A macchiato?"

Travis Donald has been homeless around Fort Lauderdale since 2011, though he prefers a more empowering description: "I refer to myself as a street ninja." He swears his lifestyle is preferable to the corporate grind. It's the pitiable Starbucks worker drones who don't know they're being controlled. "If they did, they wouldn't be here," he says. "They'd be out conquering the world."

In November, Fort Lauderdale made headlines when then-90-year-old Arnold Abbott defied a new city ordinance that restricts the public sharing of food. For decades, downtown business owners had complained that homeless people -- some drug-addicted or mentally ill -- drove away paying customers when they littered, slept, or urinated and defecated in the open. Many refused help. In response, the city this year restricted panhandling and food sharing, outlawed "camping" on city property, and passed a measure that allows cops to seize the belongings of homeless people.

See also: Fort Lauderdale's Controversial Homeless Feeding Restrictions Spark National Outrage

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Deirdra Funcheon