on July 4, 2003

picIt’s funny how the deaths of strangers affect me (or not) Princess Di died – so what.  Katharine Hepburn leaves this mortal coil – big deal.  I haven’t felt a single flicker of emotion over the death of anyone famous that I didn’t know.

Yesterday, however, came the news that one of Wellington’s homeless people had died. I’ve seen this guy on the streets of our city for as long as I can remember and have always known him as “The Bucket Man” due to his habit of carrying his possessions in a bucket.  He was also well known for having a huge growth on his forehead.  The paper gave up almost half of it’s front page to him yesterday – amazing respect for a homeless person and something that I doubt very much would happen in any other capital city in the world.

What really bought a lump to my throat was the first few paragraphs of this story:

Rob, the man with the growth on his forehead and bedroll under the arm, walked out of his bush hideaway with his birth certificate, bank statement and will, knelt down in the gutter and died.

Thorndon resident Bernadette Munn came across the familiar Wellingtonian, wet and cold, near his bush campsite close to the intersection of Grant and Park streets about 9am on Monday.

He had asked a woman parking her car to call an ambulance, accepted a blanket with a polite “thank you, thank you very much” and then died soon after an ambulance arrived, Ms Munn said.

“It was just so so sad, I could not believe that here was this human being kneeling in the gutter in the pouring rain.”

Why did his death affect me so much or at all for that matter? I have absolutely no idea – maybe it’s just age, maybe it’s the sad but politely dignified way that he went, maybe it’s the fact that Vic and I sat across from him in McDonald’s just a few weeks ago – I really don’t know.

All I can say is that I’m glad I now know his name.

RIP Robert Jones

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One Response to “death”

  1. Divina says:

    Oh 🙁 it’s so sad. 🙁