Homeless men allegedly soaked with water outside Vancouver Tim Hortons
Facebook campaign calls for boycott after witness alleges store employee poured bucket under sleeping men
A Facebook campaign calling for a boycott of a Tim Hortons in downtown Vancouver has garnered thousands of hits over allegations someone from inside the store poured water under two sleeping homeless men.
Peggy Morrison said she works across the street from the store at 463 Robson St. and watched it happen Friday morning from her window.
He poured it underneath so the blankets and consequently the dog and the man were both soaked.— Eyewitness Peggy Morrison
"It was 10:30 a.m. and I was in the middle of a conversation with a co-worker. I said, stop, stop. I don't believe what's about to happen across the street," she told CBC News.
Morrison said a man came out of the Tim Hortons with a bucket of water, which he poured under a homeless man who was sleeping on cardboard and blankets with his dog.
"He didn’t throw it on him," she said. "He poured it underneath so the blankets and consequently the dog and the man were both soaked. The [homeless] man jumped up. He was obviously shouting. The dog looked shocked and they started moving all of their stuff around the corner to the entrance of the IGA, which is where they remained."
The man then poured the remains of the bucket under a second man sleeping on the other side of the door.
Morrison said the man re-emerged from the Tim Hortons with a straw broom and proceeded to sweep beverage cups, sheets of cardboard and the remains of plastic garbage bags from the sleeping mat down the sidewalk away from the store.
When Morrison's co-worker ArianneSummach took to Twitter and Facebook calling for a boycott of the Robson Street store, Tim Hortons responded asking Summach to contact them.
"This concerns us," Tim Hortons said on Twitter. "We want to know more. Please send us a DM with your phone number and we'll reach out."
Morrison said Summach forwarded her the message, but so far she hasn't heard from Tim Hortons.
'They treat me nice'
On Saturday, a panhandler outside the store who would only give his name as Pete, told CBC News he's never had a problem with the Tim Hortons on Robson.
"They treat me nice," he said. They bring me coffee and soup every now and then. They’re really nice to me."
Pete said he often helps clean up around the store and sympathizes with the managers.
"Some people sleep there all week long," he said. "So you got to understand the business. It takes away from their business.
"They’ll leave their newspaper, their cardboard, everything. Just clean up after yourselves."
However, Pete draws the line at dumping water on people.
"I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think you should dump anything on them. It’s public property on the sidewalk. It’s not business property."
Morrison said she was "beyond shocked" when she saw it.
"It’s absolutely the worst thing I’ve seen," she said, "and no one deserves to be treated that way."
It's not known whether the man who allegedly poured the water is actually a store employee.
Tim Hortons issued a statement late Saturday.
"We take these matters very seriously," it said, "and as such we have launched an internal investigation."
With files from the CBC's Deborah Goble