Thursday, December 7, 2006

Who's job is it to care?

This summer I was out in the city when I walked past someone completely covered in a blanket in a bus shelter. It seemed unusual for the person to be asleep in the middle of rush hour with a dozen or so people around. Buses and cars were whizzing by, and there was absolutely no movement under the blanket.

I started to worry, wondering if I should do something, or call someone.

I dismissed it, saying to myself that someone would check on them. Then I realized... who? The police that badger and barade homeless people in this city? They won't care. The transit employees that make little money and deal with cranky people all day? They won't even notice.

So, who's job is it to care?

This question hit me as odd. It seems there was a time when people cared for one another. When even strangers on the street would stop to ask if you were okay, when people regularly gave up their seats for the elderly, the pregnant, and the disabled.

Are those days gone?

Is it now always someone else's responsibility to care? Have we outsourced our nurturing, our compassion, and our empathy?

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