Hobophobia begins with hoboignorance.
Oh, yeah, we all know the stereotypes. The dirty, ragged guy with a beard, holes in his shoes or flapping soles, a stump of a cigar, maybe on a toothpick, patched clothes...yeah, you know it. Kings of the road, riding the rails, rousted by the railroad bulls.... Pretty funny, isn't it.
Unless you're the hobo.
Sure, some people say, "Well, if the hoboes hadn't chosen that lifestyle, they wouldn't be open to charges of petty theft, eating out of cans around campfires, and drawing funny little pictures that act as bum GPS for their smelly bindle stiff friends."
People think hoboes choose their lifestyle. Choose. Like someone would choose to be stinky and hungry, cold and miserable, instead of in a nice warm home, with a phone, a pool, with pets, where they can have their own cigarettes.
Remember, hoboes are people too, men who put on their shabby pants and comically spotted boxer shorts one leg at a time. They didn't ask to have to wear stovepipe hats with the lids popping up or pieces of stolen clothesline for belts. They didn't ask for furry beards that don't seem to grow around the lips. They didn't ask for lice. Probably not, anyway. Not the lice part.
So if you see your hobo in the street, on your boxcar, in your woodshed; if you see him swiping a cooling pie from a windowsill, cutting through your chicken wire, wearing a pot for a hat; if you see him picking up your cigar stubs, asking for a job sweeping up, stealing your shirts off the clothes tree, wearing a barrel, or running from your dog, remember that that hobo is a human being, just like you, and deserves all the respect you might give someone who doesn't smell so much. Their soles may flap open on their feet, but their souls are flapping open for kindness. Hobophobia ends where hobounderstanding begins.