10599427_1392911160968689_5694857365964467290_n(Tina is the Executive Director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association.  She ran for council last November, and would really be an asset to our city.  Hopefully she’ll run again in in 2018)

I find it interesting that many people take great pride in getting ecognition for showing their face at events for certain high profile issues-of-the-day, and being seen with people who will get THEM seen. I wonder how many of those people take a minute to think that so many of those issues that get them the attention they so obviously crave are the same issues the quiet, unnoticed person standing in front of them is dealing with or has dealt with; yet they don’t give them the time of day. 

That woman serving you at the local cafe, she just found out her husband has cancer, but she had to come to work anyways, because that is how they are fighting each and every day to put a roof over their heads and food on their table.

That man who changed your oil, he wasn’t complaining or asking for your help, but he is a recovering addict who is fighting the urge every day. He barely makes it by and wants to prove to himself and everyone who gave up on him that he can do it. He mostly wants to prove it to himself.

The single mom who is putting herself through school while she cares for her kids, she got away from that abusive relationship. it may have taken her awhile, but she did it, and she’s proud, and it’s hard now, but better than it’s ever been before. She’s living with her sister and her family, but that will change one day.

That lady behind the counter at the store downtown, her sister is close to the end of her fight for life, but she spends her days trying to keep that small business alive for the husband and 3 small kids that will be left behind. Then she goes home at the end of a long day and cares for that sister and does it all again the next day.

That guy waiting at the bus stop, he works every day, long hard hours to feed his children and provide a home for them. Then when he gets home, his wife, goes to her waitressing job to make ends meet, AFTER she has spent all day caring for the kids and taking her online classes. They don’t complain, they don’t tell you they are entitled to better; instead they are working hard to improve their lives and to create better for themselves and their children.

Those quiet, unassuming people next to you, have all lived through life’s struggles or are currently living with them; abuse, addiction, illness, homelessness. Just because someone isn’t crying for your help and vocalizing their issue, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show empathy. We all deserve respect and empathy from our community. Try saying hi to the person standing next to you; or “have a great day.” to the person pouring your coffee.

there are surely those who need some extra attention, but there are many who get none and surely deserve some.

I am sometimes bewildered by the lack of compassion that I see from many of our local “dignitaries” who hide behind their public persona. Everyone in this city deserves your equal attention.

Tina Stewart

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