I was sitting in my bus at a red light this morning. Having nothing else to do, I was idly watching a man walking along the sidewalk. He was pushing a shopping cart laden with bags. He didn’t strike me as the homeless type – he was wearing a warm parka with a scarf wrapped round his neck, and he didn’t have the downtrodden shuffle I tend to associate with the homeless. He was striding briskly along as if he had places to go and people to see.
On the grass boulevard at the corner of the sidewalk was a small sign advertising a “Giant Mattress Liquidation!” I could digress and ponder whether they were liquidating giant mattresses, or if it was a giant liquidation of mattresses, but that’s not the point of this story. The sign was supported by two sturdy wire stakes shoved into the ground. It was leaning backwards a bit, presumably due to the winds we’d had through here over the weekend. But it wasn’t hurting anyone.
It’s amazing how rapidly thoughts can stream through your head in a very short time. You can think things much faster than you can type them, read them or even say them out loud. And that’s what happened as I watched this man. He stopped his cart beside the sign, making sure it was secure and wouldn’t roll away. As he leaned over the sign I thought – oh, he’s going to straighten it up. Then the thought became – maybe he’s employed by the company and is going to remove it. But that thought was quickly replaced by “What the hell???”, as he ripped the sign off its support wires, viciously tore it in half, then in half again, flung the pieces to the ground, brushed off his hands and went back to his cart to proceed along his way, leaving the exposed wires sticking dangerously up out of the ground!
I was speechless, but one of my bus kids sure wasn’t. A little kindergarten girl had also been watching the man, and as he strode away with his cart, she piped up in a clear and loud voice, “That wasn’t very nice!” I wish the windows had been open so he could have heard.
So, Mr Sign Killer, I have no idea what possessed you to destroy someone else’s sign, and then litter the pieces on the ground, but even a four year old knows “that wasn’t very nice”!