It’s scary how the bureaucratic and logistical machine that is the average city government can very nearly pave over marginalized members of society in its collective quest for uniformity and some arbitrarily established sense of propriety. For the over 600,000 men, women and children who are homeless in America on any given day, the message is often all too loud and clear.
For one man in particular, a New Orleans resident who goes by Philly, this relentless steamroller of “progress” came in the form of city workers, who came through on a cleaning run. They took the Philly’s cheerfully decorated Christmas tree from outside his tent home, and threw it away. A friend of Philly’s noticed and retrieved the tree from the city truck. No harm, no foul. It’s easy to mistake a christmas tree carefully decorated and lit for trash, right? Well it was no mistake, and the workers made an extra stop later that day, just to make sure they took this little bit of joy away from the city’s poor.
Thankfully, this tale has an incredibly happy ending. Not only did caring community members begin showing up with several Christmas trees to replace the taken one, but they also brought donations, clothes, food and more. Philly, a plain and generous man at heart, didn’t need any of it. What he did next should serve as a lesson to us all.