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March 10
2014 年 3 月 10日

施者不亢,受者不卑

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2013年11月,香港網上新聞媒體《主場新聞》轉載了發生在美國紐約時代廣場的一件事。

寒冬日夜晚,一名衣衫襤褸、光著雙腳的露宿者瑟縮街頭。一位值勤的警察見到後,去鞋店買來一雙價值一百美元的新靴子,送給露宿者。這件事被一個路過的女遊客拍攝下來,傳送給紐約市警察局,而警察局又將其貼到自己部門的「臉書」上。

事情傳開後,感動了許多人。新聞媒體採訪了警察、露宿者和拍下照片的遊客。這位警察在接受採訪時簡單地說,那天晚上很冷,自己穿著兩雙襪子都覺得不夠,於是去鞋店買了一雙全天候適用的靴子。他還誇讚露宿者是自己見過最有禮貌的男士。當他遞過靴子,邀請露宿者去喝杯咖啡、吃點食物時,露宿者客氣地接過靴子,卻謝絕了警察的邀請,並對他說:「你做的已經足夠,願主保佑你。」

一個月後,人們發現露宿者又重新光著腳走在街頭。在接受《紐約時報》記者採訪時,他說靴子已經藏起來,因為對他來說,它們值很多錢,如果穿在腳上,反而有可能因此喪命;誠然乎?

整個事件前後,沒有任何渲染,沒有任何豪言壯語,也沒有什麼「幫別人就是幫自己」之類的說教,警察局也沒有為此表揚或嘉獎做好事的警察。施者不亢,受者不卑,卻反映了當代社會的一個側影:有貧富差距,有人間溫情,也有些小道理。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年2月21日)。

Human warmth in a frozen city

House News, an online media in Hong Kong, quoted a report about an incident last November that happened in Times Square in the city of New York.

It was about a raggedly dressed homeless person sitting barefoot on a street corner on a bitterly cold evening. A police officer on duty had spotted him and bought him a pair of $100 boots. This random act of kindness was photographed and the picture e-mailed to the New York Police Department (NYPD) by a tourist.

The incident went viral after the NYPD posted the photo on its Facebook page. Many people were moved. The news media interviewed the police officer, the homeless person and the tourist. The police officer recounted the incident in a cool and objective manner, saying he felt cold that night, too, even though he was wearing two pairs of stocks, and so he went and bought a pair of boots from a nearby store.

The police officer even praised the homeless man, saying the latter was the most polite person he had ever met. He added that after he had given the footwear to the itinerant he had invited him to have some coffee and food. The man took the boots, but declined the invitation, saying, "You have done enough, and may God bless you".

A month later, the homeless man was spotted once again barefoot. When interviewed by the New York Times, he said, "I have hidden the boots. They are worth a lot of money. I could lose my life."

The whole incident is devoid of any sentimental exaggerations or lofty utterances, devoid of the faintest hint of hackneyed expressions like "the best way to help oneself is to offer help to others". The NYPD didn't recommend or give awards to the police officer. The mercy giver wasn't supercilious, and the mercy taker wasn't humble, either.

But the incident reflects one facet of modern society: There is a wide disparity between the rich and the poor, yet there is still warmth among fellow human beings.

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (21 February, 2014).

March 10, 2014

 

 

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