It’s just a few days before Christmas 2002, when I am witnessing a very sad situation. I am sitting in Koblenz Hbf (Train Station) in Mc Donalds at 2 o’clock in the morning, waiting for my train to Dortmund.
While sitting here and reading my book the police enters, followed by a woman who seems to work for Deutsche Bahn (German train company). They go straight towards an old man who is sleeping quietly and peacefully in a corner. He sleeps sitting on a chair, his head rested on his arms, which are laying on the table. In front of him is standing a white plastic cup, I suppose it’s hot coffee or tea. A divine, beautiful picture of a resting human.
The police seems to have a different perspective. They wake him up a bit too rude for my taste, though still with manners. I wonder why they bother the old man. Maybe – at least it seems that way – he is living on the street and sits here to have some minutes of warm sleep. Although, that would be rather no reason for me to wake him up. Then they asked the old man to show his ID-Card. He is handing it over to the police, seemingly not understanding the whole issue himself. Being further away on another table, I am unable to follow their words. The old man appears to really not understand why he has to leave, since he has well-behaved, at least from my point of view. Anyway, the police asks him to get out of McDonalds.
While leaving another man sitting beside the door is starting a short discussion with the police. He seems homeless, too, and is eager to give loud verbal expression at the behaviour of the police. “How can you set an old man just because of sleeping quietly in a public place, after drinking a hot coffee, in front of the door? What gives you the right to treat him like this?”
I silently agree with the old man sitting beside the door. Tears are surfacing, I am near crying. I cannot understand why things like this happen. Have not these kind of old people done enough in their lifes? Did not they experience enough hardship? Did not they enable the life we are enjoying right now? How can we forget about all that? Should not we make a tiny effort to listen to their story? Understand their point of view, their life philosophy? Why do we judge them at all? How much do we know about life to have the understanding of his chosen lifestyle?
It makes me cry and weap. I feel the need to help them, to talk to them, to write about these humans that once stand up for a better world and now are punished because of being the “looser” in a world where materialism, correctness, tidiness, and perfection seems more worth than respecting wisdom and experience. In our modern world we seem having stopped listening to the elders, who always have been an important part of society. They still are in other parts of the world, and there – no matter how poor – they are still respected.
Summing up this experience, it occurs to me that people must have gotten blind, both – in eyesight and heart sight.