Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Honesty amongst the Downtrodden

Travelling along the streets of KL at night showcases the splendor of a modern cosmopolitan with its amazing array of sights and sounds. Nonetheless, no great city is without its shortfalls.
Here’s a story that will give you an insight on those that don’t always have it easy in life.

Kevin, an average executive in his late 20’s was all too familiar with the streets and people of this great city. He kept a schedule of the LRT and busses in his head to ensure that appointments with friends and family were always on-time. He knew the best “Mamak” (Indian-Muslim eateries) and restaurants in town which offered great food at affordable prices. He shopped only when a “Bargain Sale” was on.
A somewhat frugal individual when money is concerned.

In the past months, he had noticed an increase in the number of visually impaired and physically challenged beggars that made their rounds at eateries from as early as 6pm till the wee hours of the night. Most often than not, they would be accompanied by an abled person as a guide and to carry supplies of facial tissues or pocket calendars that will be given to good hearted Samaritans for donations.

Some of them claim to make an honest living by selling facial tissues but does it make sense that a packet of tissue costing below 50cents were sold at $2? It sure did not to Kevin. In his mind, he questioned their efforts in searching for proper jobs instead of living off the kindness of others. He knew for certain that many physically and visually challenge people found jobs in establishments like McDonalds, HSBC and Telekom to name a few. Does an honest disabled entrepreneur truly exist?

Kevin was in for a surprise. It was a Tuesday night and Kevin met an old friend for dinner in Bangsar. This was indeed a long overdue reunion as they last met many years ago while working for the same company. In the excitement of their conversation, a physically disabled man approached Kevin and his friend showing them a wooden IQ puzzle. He also suffered a speech disorder that made it difficult to pronounce certain words but he did not let that stop him from going about selling his IQ puzzles.
Out of pity, Kevin handed him some loose change but to his surprise this man did not accept the donation. He explained that he sells IQ puzzles for a living and does not take donations of any sorts. This startled Kevin at first but moved him to purchase an IQ puzzle from this man.

Kevin’s friend later explained that this man is a regular in Bangsar who makes an honest living by selling puzzles. He had been doing this for many years and does not take advantage of others from his physical disabilities.

Kevin went home that night pleasantly surprised that there are honest people in this day and age. His belief in the power of the human spirit was rekindled and his hope that more will follow suit renewed.

I guess there really is honesty amongst the downtrodden.
What will you do the next time you’re approached?