I had just finished covering the last holiday event of the season when I walked out to the fancy hotel’s parking lot. The hotel was right on San Francisco Bay and seagulls regularly deposit their droppings on your car. The hotel manager informally hired a friend named Bob who had fallen on hard times to clean the windshields so that people could drive safely. Regular visitors usually tip the guy, but he does not ask for tips. Everybody wins.
Anyway, a lady with her bodyguard and personal assistant was yelling at this homeless guy to get away from her black Mercedes. She said she was not going to give any money to him so he could spend it on drugs. She then shouted that she had to work for a living. She yelled so loud it scared the seagulls who quickly took off and deposited their droppings everywhere, including on the lady.
At which point I walked up and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. The lady and her entourage left and I asked Bob if he was okay. Bob said the only drugs he takes are the ones for his PTSD. I told him I knew the lady and she was on more drugs than him. He said people are afraid to hire veterans who are mentally disabled. Ironically, people like that lady criticize him but create the hostile environment making it nearly impossible for him to work for a living. When she ignored or deprecated the struggles of others, the chickens (or in this case, seagulls) came home to roost with the inevitable result.
I gave Bob the lunch that Jenny the caterer had asked me to deliver to him on my way out. I gave him my tip for my newly cleaned windshield and thought about Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, when Jacob Marley’s ghost visits Ebenezer Scrooge:
To paraphrase Jacob Marley, “Mankind is your business. It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”
Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.