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Earlier in October, there was a great story in one of our local papers, Kamloops This Week.  Dave Eagles, who is the staff photographer at KTW, was out on a story when he happened to see a man named Paul Lyons sitting on the sidewalk downtown.  Mr. Lyons is homeless, and he was sitting up against a closed storefront.  His crutches were leaning to one side of him, and to his other side sat a row of stuffed animals that he had rescued from a dumpster.  In his hands was the book he was reading, Trump: The Art of the Deal, which he picked up from a “free” bin at a downtown second-hand book store.

Mr. Eagles snapped the picture, and wrote a brief story about Mr. Lyons.  (Hold your horses, we’ll get to The Donald soon enough.)  A local woman named Audrey Karpoff cut the photo and article out of the paper and sent it to Trump’s executive offices in Manhattan.  She wanted to see what happened, but was hardly expecting the result she got.

One of the minions liked what they saw, because this newspaper clipping made it all the way to the top dog.  Donald Trump himself saw it.  I know this because he wrote a letter to Mr. Eagles, commending him on the story and photo and commenting on Mr. Lyons’ inspiring attitude.  Not only did he write and send this letter, but he also enclosed a cheque for $1,000 for Mr. Lyons and asked Mr. Eagles to make sure that it was delivered.

Mr. Eagles wrote a subsequent article about the letter and cheque from The Donald, and about delivering the cheque to Mr. Lyons.  Mr. Lyons was so touched that he wept.  In an interview, Donald Trump said, “‘This guy seemed to me to be trying so hard.  It was really interesting, he really seemed to be trying to figure out life.  He looked like a really good guy.'”

Now, there are people who will scoff at this story, and point out that with all his billions (hundreds of millions?  whatever), he could afford to send more than $1,000 to a homeless man.  I look at it differently.  There was no obligation for Donald Trump to do anything at all, let alone send a nice letter and a cheque.  In the past, I have been one of the people who have mocked The Donald, and honestly, who thought little of the man.

But here, he had a chance to be compassionate and reach out to someone in a small city in BC that no one’s ever heard of.  It’s not like the NY Times covered this story.  (I just had to run to check.  No results in my search for “Kamloops” in the last thirty days.)  No one who has any influence or impact on, or connection with Donald Trump’s life will ever see this story.  He didn’t do it to improve his image here in the ‘Loops.  Heck, I’m sure it couldn’t matter less to him what people here think.  He just did it to be nice.  To be kind.

And now I think of Donald Trump differently.  Another reminder that just because we see someone in the media all the time, that doesn’t mean we really know anything about him.

I guess that goes for this instance, too.  But I choose to focus on it, rather than all the stories that make The Donald out to be a jerk.  And why shouldn’t I focus on the positive?  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did that regularly?

(I can’t copy the original picture here.  If you’d like to see it, here it is.)


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