Society’s collective solution to homelessness is often to turn a blind eye. We avoid eye contact with homeless people, we cross to the other side of the road when passing, we even build cruel deterrents to prevent the most vulnerable in our society from finding any shelter in our cities. We do anything we can to avoid confronting the ugly truth that we are failing collectively to care for our fellow humans, and when the reality inconveniently pierces our bubbles of denial, we get super mad about it.

This business owner in San Diego is being praised for doing what we so often fail to do – treat homeless people as human beings. Rather than looking at Ray as just another addict, alcoholic or mentally ill statistic who should pull himself up by his bootstraps, the owner of Nomad Donuts sees him as part of the community and encourages others to get to know him.

Image credits: Nomad Donuts

Image credits: Nomad Donuts

Image credits: Brad Keiller

Far from a ‘shutting down,’ this thoughtful and respectful response makes us all think about the ways we interact with others and encourages us to see the person underneath the circumstances they currently find themselves in. We have all seen a Ray at some point in our lives, but have we ever stopped to consider the story behind their plight?

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