Not in Shining Armour, but Knights Nonetheless

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I just caught this story on facebook, and it really caught my attention:

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/09/19/homeless-men-save-teen-from-sex-offenders-alleged-attack

Years and years ago, something sort of similar happened to me. When I was a student, I lived in a rooming house on Dupont Street, near Spadina, in Toronto. We didn’t have laundry facilities, so we’d haul it down to the laundromat every once in a while.

Now, the laundromat was right next door the the LCBO. There’d often be homeless guys in there, keeping warm. I struck up a friendship of sorts with two of them, Kenny and Ace. Ace never said much. Kenny was fascinating, he had a degree in linguistics but had fallen on some bad times, addiction issues, etc. One afternoon, near Christmas, they asked me to go over to the LCBO to get them a bottle of wine. They’d scraped the money together, but weren’t allowed on the premises any more. So, I obliged. There was a quite a lineup, and I was gone for a while.

When I got back, my laundry was out of the dryer and neatly folded.

Our “friendship” continued. They were unfailingly pleasant and polite men. Six months later, I was working a summer job at Pizza Pizza. At the time, the phone centre was on Jarvis Street, south of Bloor, and when I got off work in the middle of the night, 2 or 3 a.m., I’d take the all night Bloor bus across to Spadina, then walk the two or three blocks up to Dupont Street to my place.

One such night, I was walking up Spadina, in the dark, and I heard footsteps behind me. “Hey. Hey pretty lady. Whatcha doin’? Talk to me. Talk to me, bitch.”

WHOA. Scared? You bet I was.

But suddenly, I heard another voice, saying “Hey, are you botherin’ this lady?”

Of course, it was my knights, Kenny and Ace, not in shining armour, but in grubby jeans, smelling like stale beer and pee. They walked me to my door that night, and saved me from I-don’t-know-what.

So what makes a man? That was over 25 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.

We’re all worthy, we’re all important to someone.

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