Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kindness in Vancouver - not so much of a lost art

Today I had to go Downtown to run a couple of errands (despite not feeling terribly well) and I ended up stopping at a Burger King (Granville and Robson) for a bite to eat. This area (Granville Street at night) can be very depressing with all the homelessness, the peddlers, etc. (Sorry, it's the truth!)... Anyway, as I was eating my burger (which, might I add, was really tasty), I noticed a young girl eating all by herself in the neighbouring table. She had, quite obviously, finished eating quite a long time ago, and was there just gathering her thoughts (or at least so I thought).

She might have been my niece's age (16) or perhaps a bit older. But she was definitely distraught. So the young woman who sweeps the floors approached her and asked her if she was alright. The young lady in purple (I think she was wearing purple) said she had missed her bus connection and that she needed to make a phone call. As she was speaking, tears started to well her eyes and she lost her composure for a couple minutes. The young lady sweeper kindly offered to find some way to give her a ride, although the girl said that she could call her Mom or Dad to pick her up. She was definitely not feeling well, and I felt really guilty for not helping more (although I did approach her and talked to her to ask whether she was ok and needed help).

At any rate, what really struck me was the compassion and sincerity of the young lady sweeper. She said "whatever you need, let me know and we'll help you". And she meant it. In a city that has been criticized for its lack of spirit and for being cold and closed, I was simply awestruck. This young lady who sweeps floors at BK was offering as much help as she could and being sweet and sensitive to the needs of the distraught young girl. Things like this warm my heart and remind me that, in spite of Vancouver's "cold" society, there are still many people out there who are willing to give a helping hand. Annonymous heroes who live their lives unsung. Here is to praise a quiet hero. I hope the young distressed lady got home safe. I'll have to check this week with the young lady sweeper. And perhaps bring her a token of appreciation. She really did brighten my day.

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