I address this tirade to the hundreds of insensitive people who passed by a street kid wrapped in a blanket sleeping on the Quinpool Road sidewalk during Monday’s suppertime rainstorm. Have you no compassion? Did you even give him a second thought as you scurried home to dryness, warmth and dinner? Did you not think to ask him if he was okay, or if he needed anything, or if there was something you could do for him? These are OUR KIDS. They are a part of our community. And regardless of the circumstances and reasons by which they find themselves on the street, they are HUMAN BEINGS, worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. You probably cared more for his wet and cold dog, than for him. As Haligonians we pride ourselves on our sense of community, our friendliness, our ‘reaching out to others in need’ such as we did during Hurricane Juan, 9-11, and the Swiss Air disaster. I was never so disappointed as to return an hour later, and find the young man still there, trying to keep warm and dry. Would it hurt us so much to look after the people on our very doorstep? But perhaps there’s no ‘press’ in that, and ‘community’ is reserved for those that pay taxes. I’ll ease your conscience. He was okay, and apologetic; he said he tries not to sleep in public. He was in good spirits, about to move on to find a dryer ‘cubbyhole’. He got a good meal, an umbrella to keep him dry, and some money for a place to stay. Wake up, Halifax. We are not Third World. No one chooses to sleep on a sidewalk during a rainstorm. So next time, don’t walk by him as if he was a piece of garbage. ‘Community’ means looking out for each other, ‘friendliness’ is caring, and ‘reaching out to others in need’ costs us little. Walking by him costs us more.
By Aura King