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How to Change the World

Mr Dafoe Regulare all have a story to tell and we all go through less desirable times, but when I saw this “Oom” and his two dogs I knew his story needed to be told. Perhaps you’ve seen him around town and maybe you’ve wondered what happened to him that resulted in him ending up here. Regardless, we live in a time where everyone’s for themselves and we feel sympathy for someone like him but we brush it off and go about our day. I know I’m guilty of that sometimes. Like me, you use the excuse that you can’t help everyone and you need to take care of your family first. I don’t disagree with that statement, but imagine how helping one person can change the world. Because remember, changing the world only requires one act of random kindness at a time.

I saw this “Oom” a few days ago, and as explained above, I felt sympathy for him and tried to imagine how a sequence of events led him to be where he is right now. To make myself feel better, I argued that he probably has an alcohol problem and any funds given would most likely go towards his habit. Now remember, I’m being extremely honest right now. I could tell you how I couldn’t sleep at night because I desperately felt the need to help him, but I’m going with what 90% of people would think. So I guess in a way I brushed it off and went about my day, in the back of my mind he lingered though. This morning, out of the blue, he walked past the spa with his two dogs. Which I have to mention, I’m an avid animal lover and believe strongly in an anti-cruelty animal policy and to my relief these two dogs are extremely well looked after. They have their own little warm jerseys and two extra’s at “home.”  Home is a tent next to the river by the bridge in Blackwoods. When I asked him if it’s warm, he said it’s okey. As humble as he is, I’m sure he’s freezing at night. I know that sleeping in my bed, which is in an apartment and fully insulated, without my electric blanket, freezes my socks off.

After speaking with him briefly, I realised he has two more dogs waiting at home keeping guard. Trying not to be disrespectful, I asked him where he was before all of this. Coming from a construction background, he was retrenched like so many of us these days. His wife passed away, and medical bills completely sunk him. He lost his home as a result and now he’s here. He has his “home” and his four dogs and despite it all he seems content. I’m sure I’m missing a few details on how he ended up living in a tent, we all make choices and we have to live with the consequences, but at the age of 58 (59 on the 12th of June) living on the street is just simply unacceptable. It’s unacceptable that we waste food or become picky about our food choices when someone like “Oom” is on a restricted diet, it’s unacceptable that we take our homes for granted and walk past someone living in a tent and we decide to look the other way, and it’s simply unacceptable that we judge someone according to their circumstances when we ourselves can easily end up in his shoes.

Changing the world isn’t easy, it’s hard work and requires commitment and dedication, and people who are fortunate enough to give back. How do you change the world? One act of random kindness at a time.