Friday, December 21, 2007

Next time you hear someone called a loser

On Life Matters this morning (where the audio archive of today's program is now posted), a heartwarming and cautionary tale, told by Rev. Bill Crews, AM. Rev. Crews is a remarkable, compassionate man, who, since 1986, has worked in Sydney with the crims, the infirm, the mentally ill, the destitute and the street dwellers.

Rev. Crews humbly told the story of 12-year-old George, the only client he ever gave up on. Crews said that the kid was entirely feral, a real ratbag, and the clergyman could see no good that would ever come of him. Even after having helped many no-hoper kids, Rev. Crews felt that George was a complete loser and wanted nothing more to do with him.

John Singleton, the multimillionaire Australian businessman, was at Rev. Crews's Exodus Foundation one day. He noticed George, and Bill Crews said that he should keep away from that loser. 'Singo', a natural Aussie rebel, immediately went to George and took him for a drive in his Mercedes. Singo offered George some work washing his limousines and stocking his business bar fridge, and soon reported to Rev. Crews that "George is a good boy, Bill". Crews still doubted it. Soon after, George disappeared from the Exodus Foundation's dormitories.

Fifteen years later, George showed up, chequebook in hand, and met Rev. Crews. "You don't recognize me, do you?" asked the fine-looking young man.

To cut a long story short, after having been shown kindness by Singleton, George, only 12 years old, fled Sydney so he could get away from bad influences, such as his mates on the streets of Kings Cross, Sydney's red light district. He enrolled himself in a primary school on the north coast of the state of New South Wales, and found accommodation in a youth shelter, where a counsellor helped him get on his feet.

With difficulty, George graduated primary school, then went on to high school and graduated, went to university and won First-Class Honours in Computer Science. He soon won a prestigious job in an international computer firm, and came back to donate money to the place where he had slept as a street urchin.

I've always had a strong aversion to the term 'loser', and stories like this are the reason. There never was any such thing as a loser, so maybe we can scratch this unkind word from our vocabulary.

Isn't this what Christmas is all about?

Help the Exodus Foundation with a goodwill gift of cash or food

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