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Cleaning The Streets, Demanding Respect


What have you done to clean up the streets lately?
I saw this man on Queen yesterday and had to stop him for a photo. He tells me that I'm not the first one to do so and I'm not surprised. It says a lot for the public mindset that when we see someone on the street actually doing some good, that we find it so shocking and so out of the ordinary that it deserves a photo.

Apparently though, he's been getting great reactions. "It's so much nicer. You just pick up a bag and some gloves and go," he tells me. "People appreciate it more than someone with their hand out." And I think it shows thought, appealing to a widely perceived need to clean up our streets. More importantly -- and why it works in getting him money -- it demands respect from fellow citizens.

A big problem facing the homeless today is a general lack of respect shown towards them. People often ignore the ones asking them for spare change, as if no one had said anything at all. Being thousands of dollars in debt, I can't spare money as often as I would like, but I always respond. By the "take cares" and "have a nice days" that I get, I can tell that my response -- a response -- isn't what they usually hear.


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