Reddit Can Redeem Itself by Aiding the Homeless Man in This Teary Video
First, watch the video. All of it. Especially from about 2:00 on.
This is Ronald Davis, homeless Chicagoan. This 2012 street interview, in which he tearily describes his futile search for work and dignity, reportedly inspired an entire PBS series on social policy:
"I start out my mornings about six o'clock. Sometimes, I don't even have enough money for the flophouse… It's really humiliating to be shaking a cup 24 hours a day, and people just look at you're like some kind of little bum… At the end of the day, when people go home, and everybody gets on the metro train, I just feel so bad that I can't be going home... No matter what people think about me, I know I'm a human first. And just 'cause I'm down on my luck don't give nobody no excuse to call me no bum. Because I'm not."
Even though it's been on YouTube for almost a year, this interview is the hottest video on Reddit right now, fueling a thread of thousands of commenters who want to find Davis and help him get re-established:
The guy doesn't need money, he needs an opportunity. As a restaurant manager myself with a homeless shelter only a block away, I know my establishment has given plenty of people opportunities as a dishwasher and they've completely turned their lives around...
So come on, Redditors of Chicago. One of you has a dishwasher or janitorial position where you can give this guy a shot.
If you can post/PM me proof of him being hired, I'll even front the money to pay for his first uniform.
Reddit, of course, has been justly beaten to crap in the press of late—not just for its poor performance in sifting fact from fantasy in the Boston Marathon bombing, and for doxxing innocents, but also for providing a safe place for primordial slugs whose raison d'etre is shittiness to fellow humans.
But what even the sharpest criticism of Reddit grants is the site's agency, its power to do immense damage... or vast good. Perhaps this is one of those moments:
I am one of those people who avoids eye contact with pan-handlers and this video has made me realize what an asshole I am. If other people who pass by this guy daily see this he is surely going to get a lot more hello's.
Not that a single potential act of kindness to one of America's millions of homeless and unemployed people is anything more than that. And God knows, this isn't primarily about Redditors: It's about a grown man living on streets, looking for industry, banging his head against a wall, and getting vitriol hurled at him by comfortable strangers.
But the world can do with good deeds of any size, and if the hive mind is capable of producing some, then go, hive mind, go.