Antwone Taulton was sleeping in his car in downtown Oklahoma City early one morning when he was awakened by a
Living on the streets for the first time, Taulton, 24, sat up in his seat and looked at the man.
“I was still halfway scared,” said Taulton, a Waco, Texas, native.
Turns out, his new friend, Ralph “Scooby” Crumble, 42, had awakened him to buy him breakfast at a nearby fast-food
Over the next couple of weeks, Taulton said, he became buddies with Crumble and his friend, Terry Potts, 50, two homeless men who live underneath bridges, around loading docks and other areas downtown.
Both men are featured in Taulton's documentary “A Day in Our Shoes,” a look at homelessness in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.
Taulton said he created the film to help raise awareness about the complexities of homelessness.
The documentary also is raising funds to help homeless people such as Crumble and Potts.
Taulton said DVDs of the film are on sale for $20. Also, Cox Communications subscribers may order the documentary for $4.99 to watch through the cable company's On Demand feature. Proceeds from the DVD and On Demand purchases are being used to help homeless people who need a helping hand to obtain permanent housing, employment and transportation.
Helping the homeless
Taulton said he earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Baylor University and is working on his master's degree in divinity at the Waco school.
He said he came up with the idea to film the documentary because he has a passion for aiding the homeless. Taulton said he briefly attended the University of Central Oklahoma and has relatives in the Oklahoma City area.
He said he decided to live among the homeless to find out for himself what their lives are like on a day-to-day basis.
“The whole purpose was to gain insight on how they survive,” Taulton said. “In order to really know what's going on, you have to live it.”
Taulton said he learned many of the issues that cause a person to become homeless are complex.
Crumble said he agreed to be part of the documentary because of the positive way Taulton treated him.
“He showed me respect. We just really want respect; that's the bottom line,” Crumble said.
Taulton said he offered to let the two men rest in his car, and their gratitude helped him understand how much they valued something most people take for granted.
“They were very grateful to be in an enclosed area out of the weather. I know it was a car, but they were so happy,” he said.
Seeking a new start
Taulton said he would like to see the proceeds from the film go toward helping Crumble and Potts get off the streets for good.
Crumble said he is known for his renovation work, particularly his skill at laying tile. He said he had an argument with his girlfriend, and she
Potts said he is an electronic technician by trade who has had trouble finding employment after getting out of prison last December. He said he served time in prison for crawling through a store window after hours and stealing beer. He said he had open-heart surgery at one point, and the necessary recovery also kept him from finding work.
Crumble said he also served time in prison, most recently for a probation violation.
Both men said they hope the documentary brings greater awareness. They also hope for a new start with Taulton's aid and the money from the film's proceeds.
“I'm good at what I do, and I can get started again,” Potts said.
“They're not giving us a second chance, but we need one.”