Talk about adding insult to injury. Being homeless is unfathomable, especially during the long northern winter. So it was an un-Canadian gesture from a quintessential Canadian company when a Tim Hortons owner threw a bucket of water on the homeless outside a Vancouver store.
At the time of the incident, Grant Faithful, his dog, and another man were sleeping outside of Timmies. They weren't disturbing anyone, not panhandling, when the franchise owner came up with a callous way to get the men to move. The owner obviously didn't like the look of them outside his storefront, and perhaps saw their presence as off-putting to customers.
That's no reason to eschew your compassion and humanity.
The incident sparked outrage on social media, with users on Twitter and Facebook calling for a boycott of Tim's.
The public outpouring of support meant a lot to Faithful, yet he hasn't heard a peep from the company. Though it has issued the standard "regretful" statement, Tim's officials haven't yet met with the man and refused to do so publicly. Instead, it has vowed to make a “meaningful donation” to a local Salvation Army shelter, ostensibly buying its way out of a bad PR situation.
One store does not make a brand, and clearly owners alone are responsible for the image they convey to the public. Sadly the face of this particular Timmies is neither friendly nor welcoming, but it wouldn't be fair to tarnish Tim's as a whole.
“Unfortunately, we have to sleep outside, we have to deal with a lot of stuff and that is just one of the everyday things that we go through,” said Faithful.
Homelessness isn't a straightforward problem with a straightforward solution. There are so many stories behind each person who lives on the streets, and we'd do well to bear this in mind every time we see someone with an empty cup in hand.
You tell me: have we been desensitized to homelessness?