Imagine a person is coming into the city from the suburbs.

They get to the train station in the city and need to use the rest room.

In the rest room they happen upon a woman who appears homeless. The person is washing their face in the rest room sink. The presumed homeless person is with a child.

Suburban woman exits rest room and tells a station police officer that there is an apparent homeless person in the bathroom with a child.

Suburban woman’s 23 year old son is with her. He becomes mad at his mother for saying something to police. Her response is that when a child is involved she needs to say something.

If you were any of the players in this little drama, what would you do?

Now, because I know that people are going to make assumptions about the woman, in this example, let’s say that the suburban woman is a pussy hat, liberal flag waving sort- this is the person who would burn a MAGA hat if she saw one, and most likely the person in the hat. Son wears the same hat and flag of his Mother.

Does the above fact change your mind or your opinion about anything?

Tell me anything you want about the above scenario:

75 thoughts on “Butt, I’m just trying to help…

  1. As a “suburban woman” who has lived in a city, I would not report this person and her child. Better to leave a $10. In support of the suburban woman, I don’t think privilege figures into it. The fact that there is a child with her plays into her response. Anyway, the police would just tell them to move along, which accomplishes little.

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  2. I don’t think I would say anything to law enforcement, unless the child was in some kind of danger. In this scenario we are making an assumption that the woman and child are homeless, maybe they are not. Further, even if they are homlesess that does not necessarily necesitate law enforcement intervention.

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  3. Butt out. Really, was there an actual crime being committed? Take care of your bathroom business and go on your way. There was a man sitting on the floor in the elevator at the train station the other night working on his postage stamp collection. He definitely had the appearance of a homeless person but we didn’t call the police on him, even though it made the elevator very crowded and kind of dirty and creepy.

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  4. I have an easy answer. I will never again travel from a suburb to Manhattan, and therefore I would not witness anyone doing anything in a restroom. I used to love the city, but I don’t think I’d feel comfortable there any more. This is all easy to say when I live 800 miles away.

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  5. Homelessness could be the issue, or maybe she was on the run from an abusive situation, this thing is WE DON’T KNOW! Even asking how one can help is an assumption. Contacting the police seems counter productive. C

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  6. This is privilege. Talking the talk, but not walking the walk. The police are not the answer to social problems. I would have given her cash so she and the child could have a meal, maybe a room for the night. As a society we need to have serious conversations, not soundbite arguments, over serious issues. It is possible the woman is on the streets because the police and legal system could not help her with another issue. The cracks in our systems can be so wide that people fall through them. Being poor is not a personal failing to be cured with self help or law enforcement.

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  7. After calling the police repeatedly on “Marco” our homeless man who said he owned our house, I discovered the police could arrest him and take him to jail for one night. Then he’d be back. How helpful would that be for the child to be separated from her mom?

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      1. True. Washing your face in a public restroom is hardly a crime. We saw it all the time in our park’s public restroom. I was happy the homeless had a place to clean up. And who knows if this mother and child were homeless?

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  8. She needs to mind her own business. I guess she could say some nice like , how’s it going?, which would be normal in Texas , but I doubt that’s normal in the city . If she’s really worried , maybe hang around and eavesdrop or wait outside and see if she sees anything suspicious. But not immediately go get the cops .

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  9. Unless the child looked as if he/she were being abused I wouldn’t say a thing. “Homeless” doesn’t equal “bad”.

    Visitors to a big city don’t always get that. Their exposure to homelessness typically comes via television and movies.

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      1. Teachers are considered mandated reporters. If a mandated reporter suspects abuse, even if it’s outside a school setting, they are required to report it.

        Otherwise one should move on and maybe say a prayer for the little family.

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  10. I think it’s interesting you threw in the caveat of a different back story than the one most people probably assumed of the suburban woman. It appears from the comments that most everyone is in the MYOB camp regardless of the back story of the suburban woman and son. This could be a tricky situation if someone asked if the woman in the restroom if she was okay. She may take offense or become embarrassed. On the other hand, if she and her child were ignored, it might play into a mindset that she didn’t really matter to anyone. The train station setting would indicate people would be on a schedule and not having a lot of time to take an interest in her. Tell me…..is this a real scenario you witness in a train station?

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    1. I hate that I included that tidbit, yet I find it, let’s say odd, that when I tell a story about something I witnessed here, some people immediately say that Republicans, or trumpeters are idiots. It’s odd, because 80% of nyc identify as democrats, and we have a progressive mayor and many progressive representatives. I don’t understand why they think my examples would be of the very slim minority of right wingers in my area. I think we are too quick to “label” someone, and look at our own actions. Every now and then I try to figure out a way for people to actually think about what they say vs what they do…

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  11. In your example, is the suburban woman also a proponent of defunding the police? That aside, being homeless is a step along a continuum. Homeless can be living on the street, but it can also be living with 10 other people in a one bedroom apartment that doesn’t belong to you. It can be anyone from a druggie to a person who just lost their job and doesn’t have a clue how to function without a job or support system. I don’t think the police can help much in this instance. Connecting the lady with a homeless shelter would be a good path although if the suburban woman is from out of town, she probably doesn’t have that resource. I try but I can’t fully put my head around the many difficulties of being homeless.

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    1. Yeah…I’d say the defund the police would be part of her agenda. Living in a city I see all the things about homeless that people don’t really talk/think about. People always cite the person that is working but can’t keep up. While there are definitely people that fall into that category, there’s a whole host of other things. Then there are the scammers.

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  12. I think times are very tough and often those directed to help are at odds themselves and just trying to survive. With defund the police, less monies for social workers, etc. perhaps if she felt this way maybe a dollar donation would fund her guilt instead of waylaying to an agency. In a smaller area, they might have more resources to take care of their own.

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  13. For starters just because the woman appeared homeless doesn’t actually mean that she in fact was. Say she wasn’t and she couldn’t afford nice digs like the woman, who told the police officer on her, is wearing. Since that rat-ass woman caused more harm than good. She created fear, doubt, worry and apprehension, and emotional heartache. Those would be just a few mixed feelings the homeless ‘looking’ woman may feel towards the ‘well off’, suburbanite lady. Mixed with that hardened hatred situation, come thoughts of even more worry and concern but for the child only. Not knowing if she’d loose he/she or not.
    Anyways that’s where I went with it,.

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