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Author Topic: What would you have done?  (Read 630 times)

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Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

What would you have done?
« on: August 18, 2015, 11:46:52 AM »
This morning, I went to my local Planet Fitness to get in a quick run. When I parked my car near the main doors, I noticed a man getting out of his car next to my space and when I peered inside of his car, I saw that it was jammed-packed with lots of things: blankets, newspapers, boxes, stuff! Lots of it. One could easily assign the phrase "living out of his car."

The man was heavy-set (quite round in shape) with bushy curly hair. He had on a light green t-shirt and a white pair of short shorts with two Adidas-style stripes down the sides. I say short shorts because they looked like the shorts basketball players wore in the 70s and 80s, before the baggy pants came along. He was also mumbling to himself, which would have fit the bill except that he had on headphones on and an iPhone in his hand. It's no so strange any more to see people seemingly talking to themselves.

The man entered Planet Fitness just before I did and when I had changed in the locker room to begin my workout, he came in and went into the handicap stall.  I did my work out for about 45 minutes and when I came back tot he locker room to take my shower, I noticed the man was still inside that handicap stall. I could tell  because it was the same dirty white socks pacing back and forth as when I first left the locker room. The man, I finally noticed, smelled very badly. Very. Like no shower for several days or more. The kind of smell that is pungent and pervasive, overwhelming. It made me turn the other way and not use the toilets because the odor was so powerful.

So I thought to myself:

Decision 1
Tell the facility staff about the strange man that smelled very badly. My sense of club membership (snobbery) wanted the man to be dealt with. He was strange and he smelled.

Decision 2
See if the man needed any help. He seemed to be pacing back and forth and he might have been homeless and he might have been distressed.

Decision 3
Do nothing. It was none of my business. The man had a cellphone, a headset, a car, and a club membership too. What business was it of mine?

I chose Decision 3 and am now wondering what the man's fate was. Did someone else complain? Was the man all right?

Your thoughts?

Offline Mathim

Re: What would you have done?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 01:41:37 PM »
Being a former foster youth and basically getting fucked over by the system, I have had the unpleasant privilege of having to live out of a car for months. It is no picnic. Leave the guy alone in his misery. There is nothing you can do to help him and alerting the staff there is only going to make his suffering worse. As unpleasant as his odor is, it's just a symptom of a bigger problem that there is no easy solution to. You don't know why he ended up in that predicament so whether he's a recovering drug addict, or just got unlucky in a divorce or something, he's got enough bad shit going on to deal with to have to pile on judgment from others and harassment from a heartless establishment.

There aren't enough homeless shelters for all the homeless out there, there aren't enough recovery programs for the people who just need a little help to get back on their feet, and the people who are really just kind of beyond help are completely out of luck. It's fucked up, but if that guy is lucky enough to have a mobile shelter to cool his heels and sleep in, having done anything to report him could have cost him that and a lot more. And you'd probably never have known, so you may not have known the full weight of your decision if you had chosen route 1. Route 2...I don't think you could have helped even if you really, really wanted to. But odds are someone else reported it anyway. At least you have a clear conscience. Trust me, that guy is likely to endure nothing but harassment from cops, ostracism from other civilians and neglect from government programs that should be helping. Being on the other end of that, I know how dark it gets. If you were in that guy's shoes, and all you really wanted was to be somewhere no one could look at you, maybe take a shower and get rid of that B.O. for a while, you'd feel like killing yourself if someone reported you to the facility's management. And if you had, who knows, he might have.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 01:47:10 PM by Mathim »

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: What would you have done?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 01:43:17 PM »
Well said, sir.  I thank you for your honesty and sound advice.


Offline Asphodel Terrarium

Re: What would you have done?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 04:20:13 AM »
Weighing the pros and cons of each decision, I see that Decision #3 is best. The person may just need some quiet time to figure out about his life. Also, it's none of your business. Decision #1 is worst of the three. #2 is acceptable. Anyway, another thing is that if you are unsure of what to do, the best thing to do is do nothing! Do nothing and wait, or simply do nothing.

Offline KnightshadowTopic starter

Re: What would you have done?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 07:29:14 AM »
Totally agree.

I have since seen the man several more times at the gym and I am happy to see he is cleaner now and seems happier going through his routine.

Just wish I could help in some way...

Offline Asphodel Terrarium

Re: What would you have done?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2015, 09:43:52 AM »
:) Well, that went good. I'm really happy. Perhaps he just had some bad event during the first time you saw him. Could happen to everyone- when one just feels tired and exhausted and has no care anymore.