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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good Deeds

For every cynic out there like me, we need three Fredrick Cromitys.

Before an hour ago, I didn't even know Cromity existed, but as I approached a cash register inside a Burger King a few blocks from the Miami Herald building Cromity walked up, excused himself and asked a colleague and me if we'd mind him cutting just so he could hand some money to the cashier. We said sure. Cromity stepped forward, handed her a buck and change and said "It's for a burger, I think a Whopper Jr., for the homeless guy back there in the corner."

Then he thanked us, stepped out of line, turned and gestured to the homeless man to come forward. The smiling homeless guy walked to the counter, took the receipt from Cromity, and waited for his burger. Cromity didn't say another word. He just walked back to the table where his young son was eating and playing a video game.

Before father and son left the fast foodery(yes, I made this word up) maybe 20 minutes later, Cromity went back to the cash register twice more to buy burgers for a couple of other homeless guys.

What can I tell you? His generosity made me curious, and I am a reporter. So I stopped Cromity and introduced myself. It turns out he's a pastor and a communication & broadcast arts educator at Hallandale High School.

I asked why he fed all the homeless guys in the burger joint, and Cromity didn't have a flowery speech prepared. He thought about it for a second, then answered he was "just trying to help."


  • I recently read this:,

    and remembered your post on this subject a month or so back. I think I may look at these situations a little differently from now on.

    [Oh, and thanks for your comment a couple nights back. Check your email if you haven't lately.]

    By Anonymous Freddie, at 4:58 PM  

  • Hi Burnett! What an inspiring story. A little kindness costs so little & can make such a difference in someone else's life. Thanks for sharing that.

    -To keep my spirits up, I have two other blogs, one motivational & the other spiritual. Welcome to look in now & then, if you find the time: &

    Keep well!

    By Blogger AnnJay, at 5:08 PM  

  • Hello. I found out about your blog from Evia's. Just thought I'd drop in and say hello.

    That man was simply practicing random acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty toward his fellow human beings.

    I salute him.

    By Anonymous Ann, at 11:40 PM  

  • Freddie,
    Thanks for the link. I just read the story. It was beautifully written.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:14 AM  

  • This is nothing new. Why, for years I dressed up as a homeless guy and hung around burger bars. Every day I would get generous people buy me burgers (although only straight hamburger or maybe a cheeseburger never anything over ellaborate like a whopper or big mac). So much so that I become clinically obese and later died at the hand of these so called 'do gooders'.

    By Blogger AntToeKnee, at 6:49 AM  

  • Hmmm. Antonknee, you are either a ravving lunatic or a genius offering subtle, veiled social commentary on the toll of unhealthy foods.

    I can't decide which.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:04 AM  

  • Sorry, dude. I was in a hurry and misspelled Anttoeknee.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:07 AM  

  • Yeah! Hunger doesn't care about that!

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 10:44 AM  

  • Finally! A good deed that will go unpunished. Nice story. It shows how you can help someone without drawing attention to yourself or denying their dignity.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 1:35 PM  

  • Wow. Just trying to help.

    Sometimes it only takes the smallest of things to restore your faith in humanity. That just happened to me when I read your post.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 7:20 PM  

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