Things which make the dark days bearable

  • A busker in the subway playing the violin so absorbed, he almost forgets to stop and collect the money. His wonderful and emotional music almost brought tears to my eyes and a huge smile, not just from me, but also on the faces of the other commuters
  • Two young dark-skinned girls tell an elderly white guy smoking in the subway: “Show some respect!”, and an elderly woman thanks them for it. The smoker hides in a corner and kills his cigarette. Nice to see “Berliner Schnautze” (Berlin Big Mouth) is a tradition still going strong :).
  • Alexanderplatz: Woman in her 60s carrying part of her Xmas shopping in a paper bag. The bag splits and her things fall out, luckily on a bench. An elderly guy sitting on that bench asks if he can help, but she’s already pulling out a fabric bag from her handbag, murmuring “stupid paper bags”. The guy agrees, but tells her to see it positively: at least the stuff didn’t drop when she was walking the wet streets. She nods and says: well, still it is better than plastic bags.
  • Too many shoes in the free shop. So I take some with me and display them on my window ledge. Many of them are gone the next day. When I go to work, I see a guy taking a pic of the row of summer high heels.
  • Almost all of them are gone when I come back from work. Strangely enough, the winter boots are still there. I put them on the corner of the main street, in the hope someone wants them. Unfortunately, 3 days later, still no one took them. When I start my shift in the free shop, a well-dressed guy comes in with a bag. And he takes out those boots, yes those same boots, which were gathering dust in our shop for several years, and which I put on the streets. Some things are really hard to get rid off…
  • Free shop. We still have too many frikkin’ shoes. But they are needed too. We put some outside, and a guy comes by, shows me his leaking shoes, which he had stuffed with toilet paper, since he had no socks either. I quickly invite him in, and he not only finds shoes in his size, but also the socks, and quite a few other things to keep him warm on the street….

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