A cheap esky and a handful of papers

I saw a very sad thing today.

I had noticed a guy walking through the airport carrying a cheap esky. It was a little odd. Then, as I was checking in for my flight home, he was checking in to a flight a couple of desks down.

I could hear the airline staff member asking if he had luggage to check in, and he put his esky on the luggage belt. Then, the airline staff member asked him for ID.

I saw him shuffling through some papers in his hands. He looked awkward. The airline staff member was throwing out some suggestions – “ATM card, license?” Then I heard the next comment.

“Yes, parole papers will do it”.

My heart fell. Not because this gentleman was on parole, but that he was forced to disclose that fact because he had no other ID. He had no bag or backpack, and no wallet to keep his few documents in. He had a cheap esky and a handful of papers.

I wondered how people can have an opportunity for a fresh start, if they are shackled with the indignity of having to disclose a past mistake while trying to create a new future?

A colleague who has previously worked in the prison system confirmed that such a case was not unusual. Why not an exit program that provides dignity through simple items such as a bag and an ID?

Someone may read this who is in a position to help. Or you may come across a person starting afresh and give them your kindness and encouragement.

We can do this friends. We can make a difference for people all around us. The challenge is to turn our intentions in actions. I believe we can do it. Do you?