A Matter Of Principle

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles. ~Ayn Rand

Dirt Man and I have preset internal life values that we live by. These are expectations we have in life. They are how we treat other people, how we expect others to treat us, and how we view mankind should treat one another. We live on principle and don’t cave to other people’s  notions of how we should behave. Some might think we’re snobby, but if someone doesn’t meet our standards we don’t try to establish deeper contact. We have been known to sever connections to people or businesses due to principle.

An example of this is that Dirt Man has not shopped at a certain grocery store in our area for at least fifteen years due to their handling of a homeless woman. We met this woman that I will call Tee when we were housing and feeding the homeless in our area. She was not only homeless but had some mental difficulties as well. And she was pregnant on top of that. Anyway, Dirt Man was shopping at this particular store and heard the store manager yelling at Tee and threatening to call the police on her because she was outside the store asking people for food/money.

Dirt Man called Tee to the side and told her to walk to the McDonalds next door and he would purchase her a meal. He did just that and gave her a few dollars. He then went back to the store and asked for the manager and explained Tee’s situation and told them if this was a business that didn’t care to help those less fortunate than he would no longer frequent that establishment. I was not privy to either incident. I banned the store for a while. Sometimes, I go there out of convenience which irritates my husband. He prefers that we spend our money at a different grocery chain but on occasion will go into one of that chain but not that particular store.

We have continued to run into Tee at other times. I once saw her in the pharmacy. She was frantic and raving to everyone. People were trying to avoid her as she was yelling out her circumstances in an effort for help. Since I knew a little about her, I listened to her. Turned out she had a hysterectomy two weeks earlier and was still bleeding and thought she was dying. She thought that the pharmacist would be medically able to help her. Tee didn’t understand that you bleed for a few weeks. I knew the pharmacist and I got her to talk with Tee. She and I calmed her down and the pharmacist made a few calls for her through the social services system and got her an appointment. I asked Tee where her baby was and she said that Social Services had taken her daughter and placed her in foster care. I imagine that it had more to do with her mental condition rather than the fact that she was bouncing between shelters. That was the last time I ever saw Tee. That pharmacy is an establishment that trains it’s employees to care for it’s community. We continue to shop there.

Some might think we are out of line. I prefer to call it living by the golden rule…treating others how you want to be treated. And I truly believe that we all reap what we sow.

If you can get along with everyone and everyone loves you, then you don’t stand for much. A person who stands his ground for his principles and won’t compromise his integrity is not loved by everyone. ~Larry Winget

47 thoughts on “A Matter Of Principle

  1. Well I’d say the standards that you measure others against are the same ones you expect of yourself, and you guys are the real deal. Your story of Tee breaks my heart and pisses me off but in the end, you helped her more out of human compassion that probably anyone ever did. BTW, which grocery store are ya talking about ~ because I won’t shop there either!

  2. Loved your post. And I too, live completey by the golden rule. Sometimes I ge burned by it, but I can still look at myself in the mirror.

    But you had my vote by quoting Ayn.

    I’m with Karal. You and dirt man are the real deal.

    • Ah, thanks…it’s important to be able to look yourself in the mirror. And to let you know Karal is the real deal too…she’s my bud from way back when (all the way to elem school, but we won’t say how long ago that was!).

  3. We have no idea how people like Tee view the world around them…I imagine the worst possible dream view compounded by grease covered glasses and boulder cobbled pathways. You and your husband humble us all with your compassionate patience.

  4. No, dear lady…you are not out of line. In fact I applaude you for sticking by your beliefs and doing what you feel is right in your heart.

    “Some might think we’re snobby, but if someone doesn’t meet our standards we don’t try to establish deeper contact. We have been known to sever connections to people or businesses due to principle.”

    THANK YOU!! I’m the same way, people call me a snob all the time, however I really don’t care.

    I will purposely not patronize an establishment if I feel they do business unethically or treat their staff, customers, and people in general with no respect.

    So AMEN to you and Dirt Man. And bless you for reaching out to assist Tee.


    P.S. and I LOVE the quote from Ayn Rand!!

  5. If more of us were as caring, concerned and principled as you and dirt man are, it would be a much better world. Three cheers for the two of you!

  6. Compassion and caring for those who can’t care for themselves goes a long way in my book. I try to treat others they way I want to be treated to. Hubby always says try to leave a place better than you found it and that is what we try to do. I am humbled in his presence every day. He and Dirt man are a lot alike in their convictions.

  7. Suzicate, your story is so heartwarming and sad, nobody should treat any human like that. All through the Bible Jesus teaches us to bear one another’s burdens.

    I am so sorry to hear the store manager who did this works at a Food Lion Store. I would like to say one thing, I worked 10 years at our Food Lion Store here in Deland, until I had to retire because of my cancer. All managers of Food Lion Stores are not like that. In the ten years that I worked we went through several managers and they were all very fair, kind, loving, and caring to everyone. Our store even gave food to the food bank every day. Plus everyone who worked in Food Lion Store here in Deland every Christmas gave toys to my Christmas Toy Drive for needy children. So I am defending Food Lion by saying it is not right to judge a whole family because of one member, and I know deep in your heart you don’t mean to do that, because you are a beautiful lady my friend with a loving and caring heart and it is not in your nature to say something to turn others against innocent stores. Just remember the Food Lion that upset your husband is only one store out of thousands around the United Satates.

    Also my beautiful friend, I would like to say and I am not making excusses for this manager, just stating what I have seen with my own two eyes. Our store also dealt with homeless people going from car to car or stopping people to beg for money. THEY DID NOT BUY FOOD WITH THE MONEY, instead they brought beer or wine, and NO we did not sale it to them, and we put a stop to them begging money from our customers. However, if one of them said they were hungry then we gave them food to eat and a cup of coffee or soda. I have seen so many of our elder people give the homeless money who didn’t even get enough money to live on, because they thought they were helping someone who was hungry. So you see sweetie, putting a stop to something sometimes is not wrong, it is the right thing to do.

    Perhaps that store manager didn’t know Tee like you and your husband knew her. If I have upset you then I ask for your forgiveness now, but no matter what, you still have to love me, because the Bible say so. LOL

    Love you,

    • Of course, I still love you, Viola. And I will go to other Fl stores just not the one with that manger, it was not my intention to put the name of the store on here but I had a local friend on here ask on the comments. I know that FL does contribute to food bank etc…however, they are not the chain but another one that we worked through for our local food bank and homeless. I do know that often that people asking for money do not use the money for food and that is why we often will buy a meal for them. I don’t always help everyone I see, but there are certain people that I know through the system that I feel more inclined to help because I do know their circumstances. I wish I did help more but I don’t always know the circumstances or motives, so maybe I[‘m not as trusting as I should be. I’m sure managers do what they feel they need to do for their establishment, however this man did not listen or take the time to hear Tee which is sad. I realize we can’t rescue everyone, but when we do know the circumstances (which we did) it is our job as citizens and fellow human being to take care of one another when one can’t take care of him or herself.

  8. This is a great post. Really got me thinking. I have always lived in communities with huge homeless populations: San Francisco, Berkeley, NYC. I grew up in SF and Berkeley and I learned to ignore homeless people. Why? A combination of my being a kid/teenager/don’t talk to strangers, having no resources, observing young people on the streets who seemed to choose to be there (and clearly I was making a judgement about that at the time), and mostly, being overwhelmed by the sheer number of homeless I encountered on a daily basis. As I grew up and came to understand more about the drivers of homelessness (and became an adult with some resources) I had much more compassion but it is still very hard to remain open to strangers on the streets because, now living in NYC, I feel like I must where armor at times. Like I need to protect myself by changing subway cars when someone starts screaming and ranting or cross to the other side of the street. I like to think that I am still listening and on alert to help where I can, but I am not sure that is true.

    Again, thanks for the post. Definitely got me thinking.

    • I understand where you are coming from. I also grew up with the fear of strangers. It was working with the homeless through church that I heard the plight of why some are homeless. Yes, there are conivers and manipulaters out there but there are also extremely creative and talented and intelligent people out there due to mental illness without proper medical treatemnt that would help provide a normal life for them. Some are homeless by choice. We have an elderly friend who would pick them up and let them shower at his house and feed them and buy what they needed…he would do without to provide for them. His trust has always scared me a little as I’ve feared for his safety. I guess he’s been doing God’s work because all has been well. He is a very selfless man who I greatly admire.

  9. The stoy of Tee is why I love you and Dirtman. Your sister and I are the same way. WE will always put the needs of our brother in front our own. I only pray that Tee is ok! Love Dwight

    • I know you and Peggy stound me with your good-heartedness and you guys make me proud. I think of Tee often and wonder if she’s ok. I never see her where you see most of the homeless during the summer. However, I don’t go down to the beach often and that’s where the shelters are so she might be in that area. I pray that she is safe.

  10. I know sweetie, I grew up as a member of the Salvation Army, and I grew up helping every one that was in need of help. I used to think that I could save the world, and for many years I tried, but one day God showed me that I could only help those who want to be helped, and put forth an effort to help themselves. Now in a case of someone like Tee surely puts a different light on things. We have to go that extra mile to reach out to someone like her. God bless her and I do pray that she is ok. Here in Deland we have a place that used to be a motel for people with problems like her to stay. They have workers who oversees them. This place isn’t too far from where I live, and not far from town, I see them out walking every day. Also we had a pastor from our church to start a little church for them, he preaches on a level as to where they can understand. Such a special gift God gave him and his wife. You sweetie have a heart of gold, and you are truly an angel. I just love you and you remind me of myself when I was younger. I was a go getter too. I still am to a point, but age caught up with me a little. LOL

  11. Thanks for reminding me why I’m still working in the church. It’s been a really rough week, so I needed to hear this. 🙂

    • Church administration? That is the hardest job of all because you have to discern who honestly needs help and who is using the goodness of the local churches to get things for nothing. We have found that are certain people who go to different churches daily asking for the sames things and make their rounds over the city and come right back to yours…communities of pastors usually helps weed those out. I think God blesses the administrators with the ability and compassion to see who really needs what and how to proceed. You are in a poistion to help a lot of people but still you must be selective. Hope you have a great weekend and that next week is better for you.

  12. *Applause*

    I don’t know anyone quite like you, Suzi. I know that because you believe in a certain set of morals you may not appreciate just how rare your caring and kindness is. This story just proves it. I admire you and Dirt Man for not turning away from Tee in disgust, and for not only treating her like a human being but also helping her out when you could.

    • Thank you, that is very kind of you to say. But honestly, most everyone I know has good morals, of course there are always a few bad apples everywhere you look, but most people deep down are really good, some just don’t know how to vocalize their feelings or how to help others. I just call it southern hospitality.

  13. So rich, this story, on many levels. but, the essence for me is: LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. The golden rule should be the law and then peace would take its place in our world. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Heartspell

  14. I used to have my favorite panhandlers when I worked in San Francisco downtown. On pay day, they all got a $20 from me. I didn’t care how they used it, just that I could do something to help them even if it was just for a moment.

  15. A lot of our people are in this exact situation either due to financial, mental, or both problems they don’t want to be shunned by society but most peole in society treat them as lower class.

    I respect you and your husband for going out of your way to help and by boycotting people who threat others as less is a practice I have been known to do also.

    Excellent Post Suzicate and my hats off to both you and Dirtman

  16. SuziCate if there were more people like you then this world would be a better place. That poor woman. So very many people are in her situation and so little is done to help them and they are not able to help themselves. I admire you for stepping in where so many others, including myself, often fear to tread.

  17. I think it’s wonderful that you have high standards for people’s behavior. I don’t think you’re asking too much of people to show some kindness and concern for their fellow man.

  18. wow. wonderful story today. It’s so true- there are times I have needed help and I find the kindness of strangers very good for my soul. If it weren’t for the few good guys out there, I’d surely lose my faith in humanity.

  19. I think it’s great that you and your husband “walk the walk and talk the talk” so to speak. We have a saying at our church. It’s pretty simple but it sums up our belief/mission:
    Love Wins

  20. Bravo for this on ALL levels. I am tired of people who look and recognize an injustice but do not speak out. Thank you and Dirt Man for taking the time to do what was right, for being an advocate for someone who needed you. Your closing quote is so true. I will hold on to it to remind myself of why not everyone can or will like me! An exceptional post.

  21. So good to see this in print. And an inspiring post.

    We live by the golden rule here, too. I try to teach my children every day, “it doesn’t matter what others do to you, in this house…we live by the golden rule.”

    It’s the only way to go through life.

  22. I don’t see how anyone could call this out of line. It’s fine to theoretically/religiously love your fellow man/woman, but giving practical concrete assistance is really what it’s all about.

    And feel free to follow me in as many incarnations as you can muster. 🙂

  23. Suzi, I love your story and all of the responses you got. I believe that everyone has core beliefs and that in some way we all try to do the best that we can. I think that everyone has redeeming qualities, but sometimes they are difficult to find. Your qualities shine forth so brightly. You are beautiful my dear. I read the last quote and it gave me pause. I try to got on with most people. Do I give myself credit to stand on my own morals? hmmm. hmmmm

  24. You and Dirt Man are truly caring people, and not afraid to stand up for what’s right. You remind me of the saying, “Spread the Gospel. Use words if necessary.” God Bless You.

  25. This is such an inspiring story Suzicate! I loved that quote by Larry Winget, whenever I meet a person who is loved by everyone and who loves everybody, I approach with caution. Anyone who lives life with certain principles bound to be disliked by few and I can’t stand people who don’t have any principles.
    That is the golden rule, “treating others how you want to be treated” and I turly believe we reap what we saw…

  26. My pastor told us to always look them in the eye and give them that respect. Working with the homeless is very rewarding. I applaud you both.

    As for the manager, in his defense, I don’t know his side of the story. Was he having a bad day? Did his boss tell him not to let the homeless hang around the store or he’d be fired? Maybe he had already talked to her earlier and been nice. I just don’t know, but I do know I would have talked to the manager and let him know her story

    • He did talk to the manager who was quite rude, unyielding, and noncompassionate of her plight…I don’t think it was a corporate policy but more of a personal attitude. At any rate, I hope Tee has learned the skills and gotten the help she needed to get by.

  27. Sorry iPhone issues.

    After the manager had calmed down and then called HIS boss.

    I’m glad Tee got a meal. I just pray that everyone can look and really see. See who they are. Angels in disguise.

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