A decade ago, Scott (Ashman) and I both worked for an auto parts distributor in central SE Portland. Every other week or so, we would see an older gentleman pedaling around the neighborhood of the warehouse on his three-wheeler, yelling out for "Cans! Cans!". There was a wire basket behind his seat, always with a dozen or so empty beer and soda cans scrambling around inside. Because of his eccentric nature, we all started calling him Wacky Willy. Once in a while, Willy would roll up to the bay door in the new warehouse and ask us if we had any cans. We always had a few for him.
One of the funniest things to see was how people would react to Willy's presence. He'd ride directly across the streets with no regard for the impatient drivers who had to wait for him. He'd cross in crosswalks against the green light, much to everyone's annoyance. Well, unless you were local, then you just let him go his own way with a smile and a wave. But outsiders would honk and yell, red-faced, which delighted Willy all the more.
Later, one of our customers told us that his name was actually Leroy (I think; help me out here, Scott), and that he was far from being a penniless transient. In fact, I sometimes used to see him sitting inside McDuff's Pub around the corner enjoying a nice lunch and beer, which wasn't so cheap. Despite this revelation, however, we still called him Wacky Willy, because we liked him better as a crazy, can-collecting old character.
I hadn't thought of Willy for years, until I spotted him today on my way to work. (I apologize for the extremely bad quality of this picture. I saw him out of the corner of my eye while driving, so I circled around the block and got my camera ready. I had to snap the photo blindly through the passenger-side window while going 25 mph.)
The orange blob in the middle of the photo is Willy's back. He was wearing a safety vest. Below that, you can just make out the triangular safety triangle affixed to his three-wheeler. I also noticed that he's got some pretty sweet, expensive-looking racing wheels on that thing now, not the old bent spokeys from years past.
Good old Wacky Willy.