A current Port Moody councillor and mayoral candidate is facing some heat online for a video that appears to show him offering a beer to a homeless man in downtown Vancouver.
But rather than shying away from the video, or denying his involvement, Robert Vagramov has instead chosen to go a different route. He brought the video to light in an interview with Christina Gower, a psychiatric nurse and co-ordinator for the Affordability Action Hub on his mayoral campaign’s Facebook page.
“Random act of kindness”
“I dug up a little gem from back in the day,” says Vagramov. “This is me getting nominated for one of those random acts of kindness challenges from back in the day… I was bummed out that it wasn’t the chugging a beer challenge – the shotgun challenge, so I thought I’d combine the two.”
In the video, Vagramov explains that he was pretty excited to “get “f**ked up” until he realized it was a random act of kindness challenge. He then proposes his own idea.
“Let’s see if we can’t do both and make somebody’s day,” he says in the video. “Let’s go find us a homeless guy and get him some god damn lunch.”
Finding a person sitting on the street, Vagramov says he’ll give the man some food on the condition he chugs a beer with him first – which the man does.
Reflecting on the video with Gower, Vagramov explains that the video is from five years ago, when he was “fresh out” of college.
“Heart’s in the right place, but obviously super cringey watching that now,” he adds.
Vagromov uses the video as a chance to explain and drive home the point that he’s not the person today that he was in the video.
“Today, five years later, looking at the big picture and having the knowledge I’ve gained over this term – sure I buy a guy a lunch, beer… probably not the best idea considering issues around substance abuse.”
He then steers the direction towards why issues such as homeless and substance abuse begin in the first place.
“Homelessness exists in Port Moody even though its not always visible, and solving this problem will take more than sandwiches,” he writes on Facebook. “Systemic change across all levels of government is required.”
The original video can be viewed below.
Warning: Contains coarse language