San Francisco

Favorite SF Homeless Man Killed in Hit & Run

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Update: The Examiner reports that the suspect in the hit and run, Allan Quiton, was drunk when he killed Modesto.

Make sure to read to the bottom to find out about the memorial for Modesto

There’s a good chance Modesto Figuerido was sleeping on the sidewalk in SoMa before you even lived in San Francisco. A staple of the 11th and Folsom area for over 2o years, Modesto looked like a a drunk and homeless Fidel Castro who always brandished a broom. His nicknames were “Castro” and “Cuba” and he was hard to miss.

For over two decades he hung around the neighborhood and slept on its sidewalks. Often on the way to a bar or the liquor store he’d ask you for beer money while giving you a smile that felt like he just told you a dirty joke. In fact he might’ve; despite the fact that I speak both English and Spanish, I never really understood what he said other than the words “beer” and “money”. But in a way that was part of his charm.

Modesto was as part of the neighborhood as jello shots at Butter, Death Guild at DNA Lounge, or late night crepes. In fact I even remember a band making a cartoon of him and his broom and using it for a the poster for their show at Slim’s.

Sadly, Modesto was killed by a hit and run driver on Tuesday night at the corner of 9th and Howard Streets. The police caught up with the driver and apprehended him shortly afterwards. Modesto was 65 years old.

A makeshift memorial has been set up at 11th and Folsom where Modesto often slept.

This paper plate that someone attached to a broom sums up Modesto’s relationship with the neighborhood and its denizens perfectly:

It says “Modesto (Cuba) You cantancourous (sic) lying, old drunk whim brightened the world up, and make life a little more bearable + interesting and will be greatly missed R.I.P.”

On Wednesday September 26th from 7-9pm the folks at Butter are holding a memorial for Modesto. People are encouraged to bring donations that will be given to a local homeless shelter. Find out more info right here.

May there be lots of beer and brooms in the afterlife Modesto. SoMa won’t be the same without you.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.