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Show some compassion 

I know a warm and friendly woman. She’s spry and witty. She’s also homeless. I’m not sure where she sleeps, but I see her when I take my son for walks and pass through the New Frontiers parking lot. We talk on occasion; she marvels at how big my son is getting or we chat about the weather and its implications for her. My wife and she have conversed at length about breastfeeding, recycling, and other weighty topics.

In a corner of the parking lot, where the brick wall behind the fire station meets a chain link fence, she has arranged a few personal belongings. I have seen her decorate for the holidays. Most recently she had put up some Christmas cheer: a little tinsel on the fence, a pine bough on the wall. The belongings are occasional and unobtrusive, just as she is. One would have to look very hard to see her things; one would have to be very hard to take offense at them. The parking guard who patrols the lot must be a special kind of hard.

My wife called me today very upset: the parking guard had just taken down all the woman’s belongings.

I got angry first. Then someone suggested a better response, one which I decided to make public: The parking guard’s cretinous behavior demands a compassionate reply. I’m going to leave a little something for my friend to start her cheer anew, a piece of Christmas. I’d appreciate similar gestures. You know the place.

Samson Blackwell

San Luis Obispo

 

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