A Kelowna man had a disturbing encounter with a street person while dining on a downtown patio with his family. Tim Howard and his wife were enjoying a meal with their eight-year-old son on Sunday when a stranger approached their table and demanded some of their french fries. Despite offering the person a portion of their fries, the man continued to demand more food.
According to Howard, the situation escalated when the man helped himself to food from their plates, causing their son to cry. Howard repeatedly asked the individual to leave, but he refused and insisted on having more fries. Eventually, Howard had to become more forceful in his demand for the person to leave before he finally departed.
Howard, an American citizen residing in Kelowna, expressed concern about potential legal consequences and deportation due to not having Canadian citizenship. He also highlighted the lack of support from the restaurant staff during the incident, which lasted around five minutes.
This incident mirrors a similar occurrence on July 21, when a woman deployed bear spray after demanding another restaurant patron’s food on Bernard Avenue. As a result, Howard believes that there should be an increased police presence downtown when Bernard Avenue is closed.
The unsettling encounter has left a lasting impact on Howard’s family, as they enjoyed spending Sundays downtown, exploring the bird sanctuary, and trying new restaurants. Howard expressed disappointment that such behavior tarnishes their enjoyment and safety in their own city.
The Downtown Kelowna Association operates an on-call team that assists with issues like aggressive panhandling. They provide on-site help from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, which can be reached at 250-470-9058. However, in situations of immediate danger, it is advised to call 911.