Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pass the Salt

In my place of work, I serve food.
Right around the time that a homeless man began to turn up for lunch, and for afternoon and evening activities, items began to disappear from the fridge.
Just to be cautious, and without saying a word about it, those in charge made a new habit of locking the fridge doors after lunch was served so that nothing might go astray.
One of the older patrons entered the kitchen late one afternoon with the remains of her lunch. She wished to store it in the fridge while the Monday movie was playing, and she'd collect it afterwards.
That was not a problem, and the kitchen assistant took a key from her pocket.
The old lady was surprised enough to ask: why do you lock it?
It was explained to her, quietly and subtly, that one of the new patrons, a homeless fellow, had been helping himself to food after hours.
She didn't know which person that was, and he was described to her.
Her jaw, as the old saying goes, well and truly hit the floor.
She seemed to come over a little faint, and her hand veritably flew to her gaping mouth.
"Him? That man?" she whispered furtively, a strangled, dramatic gasp.
"I had no idea. I sat at his table today! I sat next to him."
Then came the shudder, the grimace, the eyes darting warily from side to side.
"I didn't know he was homeless!" 
No, she wasn't startled one whit by the fact that she dined with a fellow who pilfered food when nobody was looking; she was struck instead by his being a person of no fixed abode, when likely she'd not met one before, and that- that was the bit that made her twitch, poor thing who asked a homeless man to pass the salt and pepper. 

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