„I reflected back on a similar unfortunate young man I saw In Thailand while I was at a restaurant owned by a very disagreeable and demanding Thai-Chinese man who continually barked orders at the staff and occasionally at the patrons while he violently lashed stray dogs with a bamboo cane.

As the crippled young man (about my age at the time) crawled past me and the mostly European and American customers, I saw they were visibly appaled and repulsed by the sight of him. Two French women demanded the owner remove him because he was spoiling their meal, and the owner barked at them to “be quiet!” as he approached the young man with the strip of bamboo in hand, and just as I expected to see the hapless young man take a lashing as painful as just obliged to the mutts I thought: “The sight of that will be more than I can bear to witness.” But to my astonishment, the owner whom until that point I deemed a heartless monster, instead brought out a carpet, a pillow and drink for the young man followed by a full meal. The owner then ignored the demands of his patrons sat on the ground next to this young man, chatted and joked with him until he finished his meal so as not to let him eat alone.

That experience had a profoundly humbling effect on the patrons and I left pushing back tears. After that, whenever I felt the compulsion to pre-judge someone that image returned.

As Mark Twain so poignantly pointed out: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

I hope the man crawling in the street is actually doing better financially than other able people, and not being used by some street mob, but either way with some compassion like you showed, you never know he may be able to achieve as much or more than most.”

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