right or wrong?

August 20, 2008

There is this elderly gentleman who comes in to eat breakfast everyday. Everyday he came it at the same time, puts a cereal box on his tray, a carton of milk and a cup of fruit. He shuffled along, got in line at the cashier and pay for his breakfast. He would silently eat alone at any vacant table. He never lingered or loitered. As soon as he was done he would bus his own tray and shuffle out the door. He was not a vagrant for he always paid for his own food, he was quiet as a mouse but never made eye contact with anybody.

The problem was he smelled terribly. He smelled of dry sweat and rancid urine. He wore the same clothes everyday, blue pants and blue polo shirt that must have seen better days. He may be incontinent for he soiled himself and this is where the odor came from. He probably can’t help it. He reeked so bad the stench reaches your olfactory system 20 ft away. You would gag the minute he entered the room. The dining room usually cleared out quickly whenever he entered the room.

Apparently this gentleman took the public transportation across the street. The bus driver would get many complaints whenever he allowed this gentleman to board the bus with all the city commuters in their business suits heading to work, students on their way to class and the general public. After months of complaints and suffering the stench left on his bus after the man got off, the bus driver had had enough. One day he declined service to this gentleman. He would not allow him to get on his bus. For many of the commuters this was such a relief because the man would stay on the bus for hours on end. Maybe he enjoyed the scenery but most likely it was to hide from heat of 101 degrees outside.

One commuter was angry. She was appalled that this man was refused service. She reported the bus driver to the city. She felt that the bus was a public service provided by the city thus no one should be denied access. She claimed it was discriminatory and unjust.

The bus driver countered that majority of his commuters were the one discriminated upon by being made to suffer intolerable conditions by a service provided by the city. The bus driver was suspended. He was also denied another route. However, nothing was ever said that he had to allow the man to ride his bus either.

Who is correct? Does this mean the old gentleman would need to walk to wherever he lived? Is the bus driver obligated to let him ride the bus? Do the majority suffer for the rights of one person? Do we sit back and do nothing? Do we care either way at all?



  1. bus is a public space/service….in places like this, there is a certain decorum…that one should not offend anyone. thus, i think tama ang bus driver.

    josme naman kasi itong si lolo, mukhang takot sa tubig!

    btw, u can borrow/get/copy the pics from my blog, no problem…basta i post mo dito ang painting mo ha!?

  2. wow.. tough question. individual right vs collective right. gibo, anong sagot? hehe

  3. ang sagot ko: collective right 🙂

  4. thanks will post when i have one done. agree ako kay gibo collective. duling na ako sa sa lakas ng BO.

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