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I was totally stumped. No idea what I was going to write today. That is until I read Jim McKeever’s post over at Irish Investigations where he wrote about the hidden camera test of kindness video that’s been making the rounds. In a nutshell, a videographer compared peoples’ reactions to a man in a suit on crutches falling and a homeless man on crutches falling.

To read Jim’s post click here.

images3Jim’s post reminded me of something that once happened to me.

Years ago, on a cold winter day I parked my car at Hotel d’Arts where the homeless organization I was working for had secured parking spots for staff.

Man it was cold that day. I don’t remember how cold but it might as well have been -100 for how quickly my exposed skin started to freeze the minute I stepped out of the car.

I rushed down Centre Street toward the 12th Avenue intersection, passing men who were standing on ‘cash corner’ and waiting for anyone who might have a day’s work for them. Most of these men were homeless or at the very least, living way below the poverty line. I probably knew some of them, but I was too focused on walking the two blocks to work as fast as I could to notice.

Shivering from the cold, I waited for the light to change. As I crossed Centre Street, I slipped on the ice and came crashing down on the road.

I must have hit my head because I felt dizzy and nauseous.  I couldn’t get up or even call out for help. I looked at the men on cash corner, my eyes pleading for help, and not one person moved to help me.

I remember thinking about what would happen when the light turned red. Panic set in so I crawled on my stomach like soldiers do in basic training to get under that net to the next obstacle in their exercise. I crawled/dragged myself to the other side of the street to the building that stands there. I pulled myself into a standing position using the building as support and waited there until my head stopped swimming. Then I walked to work.

I was not angry that day. More confounded, I think. Surprised that no one helped me.

In retrospect, it was almost like I just accepted that no one helped. I imagine most homeless folks have felt this way at one time or another.  This is what it must be like to feel invisible.


Having asked several people over the years what the hardest part about being homeless is, most answered along these lines:  It’s not when people look at you as if you’re disgusting, it’s when people look right through you as if you’re invisible. Have you ever felt invisible?