It was supposed to be a fun trip for the whole family, but the Williams of San Francisco were about to face up to a hard reality as their family trip became a family nightmare.
“It was horrible,” said Chad Williams, father of three. “We thought we’d take a road trip and see what the rest of the country was like, but if I’d known it would be like that…” he clenched his fist and held back tears, “My kids were crying. They said, ‘Daddy, daddy, why is there no one sleeping on the streets?’ They were horrified by the smell of fresh-cut lawns and baked goods that are usually drowned out by the human waste, and without any needles to avoid they were bored out of their f***ing minds – excuse the language – but I thought they might kill themselves, which I get now. I understand the whole epidemic around that. I would kill myself too if I lived out there.”
His wife, Laura, explained, “We brought them back home as soon as possible, but the damage may have already been done. One thing we’ve come to realize is that we live in a very special little bubble and we should cherish that.”
The Derringer was unable to interview the children as their parents had sent them out into a homeless encampment to recuperate.