I read an article once that postulated that one reason so many think society is deteriorating is that to many people either lack or fail to use basic civility. Now citing such simple things as “Excuse Me”, “Thank You”, “Please” for some of society’s ills may sound trite, but the use of these words reflects an attitude of consideration for others. You bump into someone and say “excuse me” and the incident can end there. How often have you seen people bump and their reaction is to start screaming and things go downhill from there. The use of “please and thank you” seems to be a dying art-form.
I was/am appalled at the discourtesy some, no scratch some, most of my fellow homeless have been displaying on Saturdays. There are several Korean bible students (Jacob, Stephen et al) who have reached the point in their studies that they need to do a little practice preaching with real people. Now these brave folks could undoubtedly have found a nice safe and easy place/group for this practice, but have chosen instead to go where there is a real need. I admire their bravery and faith, but I have serious reservations about their sanity. They use the Street Hope premises for their ministry, serving a delicious and healthy meal. Then they ask for our attention for a few minutes so that they can have a chance to work with a live audience. They keep the message short and simple (as befits the audience they have) and choose appropriate (to the audiences situation) passages.
The homeless know that these brave folks just want the opportunity to share a short message and gain experience in the real (very real) world. Many homeless rush in, gobble the food and rush out before they ‘have to listen’. Worse still are those who sit around and talk or in other ways disrupt the reading and ideas they wish to share. Now I could get technical here and cite ‘implied contracts’ feed us/we listen but I won’t. What I will cite is the lack of manners and consideration this behaviour shows. They take the time to prepare and serve a meal. More importantly they take the time to choose and prepare a bible passage and their thoughts on this passage, choosing messages that we all could benefit from keeping in mind. And then many of my fellow homeless cannot find it in their hearts to do them the courtesy of listening. Yet, if these people decided to stop coming down to Street Hope, the homeless would be bitching about how inconsiderate they were to stop coming. The homeless have also have missed the positive thoughts and ideas that the last two passages and sharings have contained. Myself, I could use all the positive mental images and ideas I could get. So I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to these brave folk and their friends and spouses who help out. THANK YOU.
Of course these are not the only people that many fail to extent basic courtesy to. There are those who cannot be bothered to take their trays over to stack dishes and trays for easier washing or to put their garbage in the garbage. They leave it for the volunteers to do, these people who have done us the kindness to come down, prepare the meal, serve the meal, wash the dishes and clean up after we leave. And those slobs cannot even bother to help out to the extent of a simple task of putting ones tray and dishes in a place that makes the volunteers’ job easier. I once saw someone turn up after lunch was finished. One of the volunteers went out of her way to get him some buttered buns (all that was left) so that he would not have nothing. He screamed at her, through the buns at her and kept swearing at the top of his lungs. She had gone out of her way to help and because it was not what he wanted, when he wanted he felt free to heap abuse on her. To often many homeless forget that these people do not have to be there, that they are there out of the goodness of their hearts. Then there are those who feel hard done by because the bag lunches only contain a cheese sandwich, a peanut butter sandwich, apiece of fruit and some cookies. They also have no hesitation in complaining to the people who have provided that it should be better. They have provided the food out of their own pockets, made up the bags and brought them to the hungry. They do this every week it is needed without fail and choose to err on the side of providing us with a lunch to have as supper rather than chance us not getting anything to eat at all. And these ungrateful wretches complain, when they should be thanking their lucky stars that people with this kindness in them exist.
I have seen all too many examples of this lack of appreciation for all the hard work and effort that some caring people go to helping out the homeless and the poor. Failing to give thanks or worse giving abuse where thanks are due. They feel hard done by when they cannot even say a simple thank you. I apologize for those ignoramuses and assure you that I certainly appreciate your hard work and efforts.