The Smell of Indifference: Bus Stop Relocates Downwind From Homeless Woman

In 1968, May had just moved into her home.  She was 25.  For the next 32 years, she lived an ordinary life, but something happened to change her course.  According to her, in 2000, she and her two children were kicked out of their home.  She apparently moved into a hotel and in 2002 began to live on the streets.  For the past year, she has been living at a bus stop in Honolulu.  She is nearly 70 and alone.  She told one news reporter that she hadn’t showered in 10 years.  Perhaps it’s a mechanism to keep the world away.  It worked.  Last week, the City of Honolulu “temporarily moved the bus stop 60 feet down the street to the area in front of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant” because riders complained of her stench.

This reporter knew he was on the scent of a great human interest story [couldn’t resist]. He sat down with May and asked her riveting questions like when was the last time she took a shower.  Perhaps a better question would have been whether or not she would like a shower or a hot meal or even a clean bed to sleep in.  He did get some background on her, which was more than it appeared most did.  The City claims that it is unlawful to remove May unless she is a danger to others.  A good law to hide behind, but not well thought out.  At the very least, she should be given a full examination, consider it a well-being check, but that would require brave action and a poor sense of smell.   Mental illness is a difficult opponent, but indifference is much more powerful because it eats at the very fabric of our society.   It takes a miracle sometimes to act.  Let’s see if anyone is moved or if the bus stop is her last and final stop.

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