Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Polite Team Part 2

Reading Grant’s latest blog post “The Polite Team”, I have to admit I was very silent for a while there, being moved by the very kind things he has been writing about me (no swell head here, I can assure you!). I know he is pissing in my pocket just a little bit because of course I was going to read his post (haha), but I do know he thinks very highly of me and that is an absolute honour, because if such high praises come from someone as honest as Grant, you gotta treasure it.

Grant has done so much helping homeless people and others in need, and although I have helped many people in other capacities as well, teaming up with him has been an honour and a delight and an inspiration, and talking with the people I help with him or by myself has been heart-warming. A very enriching experience, very different and in very different settings from my other helping roles. Working with Grant’s network is a very refreshing way of working with others to help people.

I do realize Grant has been doing BBQs and things by himself for a long time and has built a large network of people who help him out with what is needed. The people I have personally met so far have all been incredibly nice and friendly. However I know that some people may not like that Grant has teamed up with me as The Polite Team but really, as Grant said, all that matters is the people that are helped. There are no changes in that regard, except that Grant now shares the load with me and like he said, if one of us isn’t around the other can still help. The BBQs will continue to exist, the only difference is that Grant and I rather than Grant on his own will put them together. I hope all you helpers out there will continue to help and I am looking forward to meeting you all if I haven’t already. I have met some of you and it has been great. So many wonderful people out there!

Now, speaking of helpers, this BBQ that we are going to have on Sunday 2 December promises to be spectacular. The Polite Team is looking forward to a very special and memorable Christmas BBQ. If anyone is looking how to help, we do still need soft drinks and marquees for the event. Although it can be done earlier as well, Friday 30 November is the main day to drop off clothes, toiletries and other donations to Grant at Post Office Square or to Keith from Buffed Shoe Shining Service inside the BOQ building, 259 Queen Street, preferably between 7-9AM but we will be collecting until 2PM. For any news about the BBQ watch this space.


I’d like to share this little story with you, because it made the day livelier for a few people. I was in the city the other day and bumped into a tall man (let’s call him Joe) who carried along something of colourful making. It was a big colourful face, made of different kinds and colours of paper which, so I heard later, was a piñata: a Mexican type of container for toys or candy. I don’t know if Joe was homeless or if he just spent a lot of time on the street, and I wouldn’t want to assume.

Anyway, Joe was in the city and we had a little chat. I said something about the colourful face he carried in his hand, about how nice and colourful it was. He smiled, was very modest about it then said a few nice things about it, and handed it to me as a gift. I was very happy with this unexpected surprise – it had been an ordinary Thursday so far - and thanked him. Then he crossed the street, only to stop in the middle of the road, turn around, look at me with a broad grin and gave me the thumbs-up. I gave him the thumbs-up back, and he was visibly happy with that. Meanwhile cars had started to stop on the road because Joe was standing right in the middle of their lane giving me the thumbs-up. The driver of the front car started to honk, Joe walked up to the car, obviously not impressed. No, the driver did not end up getting out of the car and Joe didn’t end up dragging him out. There was some contest for a while of who would be the bigger convincer: the driver honking or Joe making huge arm gestures. In the end Joe was the wiser party and continued his walk across the street, the drivers continued their trips and all was good. Just life in the big city, often grey and rushed, got more colourful for a little while.

I took the piñata with me in the bus, placing it on the seat next to me. My fellow passengers looked at it and it brought smiles to some faces: Joe made not only my life a little more colourful that day, but also the lives of the other people. The snowball effect of a friendly deed. You never know how something simple you say or do might impact on others, might make them smile, might make their day better, even if you don't know them.

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from The Polite Team.

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