by Jay Johansen | Jul 13, 2020
I watched a documentary about railroads in India recently. Yeah, pretty off-beat topic, but it was interesting. Along the way they had a segment on a man who makes his living by selling candy bars on the trains. He's not employed by the railroad; he's an independent business.
But he had a problem. Most of the railroad cars in India are not air conditioned. India is, of course, a very hot country. And so his candy bars would melt and be ruined. He wanted to buy a cooler to keep his candy bars in. But a cooler cost $20, and he just didn't have $20. So, they said, he saved up. Literally for several years -- I think they said 5 years. When he finally had saved up enough, he went out and bought the cooler and brought it home, and they showed video of his family standing around oohing and aahing at this expensive new luxury that he had finally managed to buy. I don't recall seeing an American family look so impressed about a new car as this family did about a $20 cooler.
And I thought, I am not thankful enough for being born into a middle class American family. If I wanted something that cost $20, I would go out tomorrow and buy it without thinking twice. If it turned out not to meet my needs, I'd shove it in a closet and forget about it without spending 2 seconds agonizing over having wasted the money. If I'd known about this man's need, I would have happily sent him $20 if I knew how to get it to him.
I know that there are people in the world who are less fortunate than me. But every now and then I am graphically reminded of it.
© 2020 by Jay Johansen
No comments yet.