This morning, I was walking down Ross Street in downtown Red Deer, when I observed a very… interesting… scene.

Coming toward me, separately from one another, were two people: one, a young lady, papers in hand, walking somewhere with purpose; the other, a young man, dishevelled, hands in pockets, moving slowly and looking down as he strolled.

As the young lady caught up with the young man, she turned to him, leaned in toward him and said something in a rather aggressive manner. Whatever she said was obviously a shock to him, and he reared his head back, took a step back and held up his hands as if in surrender.

The young lady continued going, passing by me with a me a satisfied smile. The young man turned off onto the path into the City Hall Park. As an afterthought, he called out in her general direction: “I need help!” which was, I suppose, intended to be some kind of response or defence.

I have no idea what really happened, why she felt the need to speak to him, or what she said, but the interaction bothered me. It appeared, to me, that she purposely caught up with him in order to say something less than friendly. It seemed highly unnecessary, and obviously shook up this young man. My heart went out to him.

Folks, you don’t have to understand the homeless, down trodden, addicted, and vulnerable. You don’t have to like them or make any effort to show compassion. I wish you would, but there’s no law. At the very least, though, can we agree not to go out of our way to be mean?

Let’s be better.

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