I bought the New York Times today. $2.50, only 50 cents more than USA Today, and triple the reading material. It’s hit and miss day to day. Today was a good one.
There was an article that had me riveted. Very well written. Very descriptive. I read it out loud and laughed several times.
It happened in New York. A Chinese multi billionaire named Chen who in China is considered a publicity hound had placed an ad in the papers announcing that he was giving away a free meal as well as $300 to every homeless person who attends the event at the ‘boathouse’.
Instead of going out and getting his own homeless people, or even sending his own minions to round them up, he went to the Rescue Mission and met with their leaders who offered him 200 of their homeless regulars (reminds me of a certain type of movie from the 30s), as long as Chen rescinds the promise of $300, as they ‘might’ use the money for booze or drugs.
The Rescue Mission people got a check for $90,000 from Chen for setting up the deal. They sent 200 homeless to the boathouse restaurant where they were lead to large banquet tables draped in white tablecloths where they were greeted by tuxedoed waiters who served them their first course (actual words here) – “sesame-crusted tuna with asian vegetable slaw and lemon grass.”
Chen appeared on the dais as tapes of him speaking appeared behind him. “I will give $300, as promised, for every participant today”, he said as the homeless shot to their feet, whooping and applauding. Chen then launched into a version of We Are the World. As he sang, word spread around the room that there would be no payment.
Chen grabbed a microphone and announced that he would still keep his promise. But Mr. Mayes, head of the Rescue Mission, appeared by Chen’s side at the mike and said, “Oh no you won’t. That is a violation of our contract.”
The crowd was getting ugly. Chen soothed them with promises.
The story was a hoot and fun to read. As he was interviewed later with some of the homeless still hanging around he attributed their dissatisfaction to a difference in culture between the East and West. “In fact”, he said, “next year I am going to continue my philanthropy in Africa.”
I have to give the guy credit. Intended or not he exposed our system’s underbelly, and his reference to Africa was particularly funny because from the pics I saw most of the homeless who showed up were of African descent. Funny article. You got the web, look it up.