Treating others as equals
Treating everyone as equals
Sitting on the corner of the street, the perpetual fumes from his unwashed clothes block his nose. Any sense of smell he once had is lost. He has lost many things in this cruel nightmare he calls life. His greatest lost of all, is his dignity.
He has become immune to the smell that drives off thousands of people a day, often holding their nose as they try and get away with as little eye contact as possible.
The 6am traffic rush is about to start and he knows that it’s time to get ready. It’s going to be another long day of work. His job is not ideal, but it’s all that he has. Anything short of this job and he will eventually starve to death.
He feels the cold draft enter his body through the bottom of his shoes. Shoes a size or two too small, but it beats wearing nothing at all.
His black feet is hardened and now serves as a protective layer from the scorching tar in the Summer, in this instance, it serves as a protective layer from the icy draft that enters through the worn out soles of his shoes.
There aren’t many perks to his job, the greatest perk would probably that he works from home – a perk so many wish they always had.
He scrapes off the mud that reveals the words; “God bless you” on the tin he uses to make his living.
Business is booming as more and more cars start congesting the roads. The coins in his tin rattle as he shakes it and starts begging for money. The cold makes rattling the tin much easier than normal.
“Get off the fucking road,” a voice shouts. “It’s because of fuck ups like you that this country is where it is. Go and get a fucking job” The screaming man continues.
The homeless man realizes that asking this screaming man for money is a futile exercise and continues walking.
He’s used to such comments and they don’t affect him anymore. Almost.
There are many times that we come across both this homeless man and the rude man screaming at him, telling him to get a job. You may know this angry screaming person personally. You may even be that angry screaming person.
It angers me when people do such things. They scream at people that they have deemed as lower than them in their head. A major problem that many of us have is that, whether it’s on a conscious or subconscious level, we believe in a system of hierarchy. People fit in the different hierarchies of life. Someone will always be higher or lower than someone else.
Many people stand up in appreciation for a major business leader or CEO of a company, because we view them as accomplished. We respect those that have a higher position than us, even if it is only to their face. We read about stories of success or bravery and think of these people of heroes.
Now I don’t want to take away from the success of these people, they deserve all the acknowledgement and respect that they get.
Why can we not give the same respect to those we think are lower than us? Why can we not afford the same respect to those that seemingly have less than us, have less respect than us, less friends than us? Why can we not afford the same respect to those that have seemingly not accomplished much?
What makes the man sitting in his comfortable car, screaming at the homeless guy, insisting that he gets a real job, any better than the man that has to sleep on the street?
Is it because he owns more than the man sleeping on the street?
Does sitting in a car and shouting at outside from within the warmth of his car justify his behavior?
It is incredible naïve to think that we know another, based on our perception of the person, based on what we see.
In truth, neither us of know much about this homeless guy. We don’t know what the contributing factors were that left him no choice but to sleep in the icy cold, begging for money on the streets.
More importantly, we have no idea what the constant belittling does to this man.
Often we judge people; we find reasons to think of them as lower than us. We may not even appreciate certain people because of what we think we know about them. In my opinion, this is a form of bullying and that’s not cool. Not at all. Treating people badly because they do not conform to your standards is not nice, especially when we don’t know anything about the circumstances that led them to where they are today.
Food for thought:
Next time you see a homeless street beggar and feel the need to tell them to fuck off and get a job, ask yourself this question:
How would you like others to respond to your pleas for help, if the positions were flipped and you had to stand in the icy cold, begging for money?