Friday, October 3, 2014

Farewell, Animal

A public housing tenant died recently. When his friends went to sort through his flat, they found boxes and boxes of gifts. Christmas gifts, for children, hospital patients and others in the local area. This wasn't surprising, as this tenant was well known for giving gifts. He'd been doing it every year for decades.


Animal OAM, also known as Randall Nelson, or the Kings Cross Santa, thoroughly deserves all the praise that will be heaped upon him at his funeral tomorrow in Kings Cross. He made an enormous impact on the lives of people around him.
To us, he represents the big heart, the resilience and the generosity of thousands of public housing tenants in the state who give back to their communities.
The unkempt hair, browning teeth and deafening motorcycle roar were part of Animal's package, but to dismiss a person merely on how they present themselves, or where they live, is foolish in the extreme. In his case, you would have missed out on humour, spirit and an unrelenting dedication to his cause.
In the case of other public housing tenants around the state you would be dismissing mums, brothers, lunch ladies, cleaners, community workers, politicians, entertainers, and sportspeople. Their contributions aren't always as visible as Animal's have been, but they do make a difference in the lives of people around them.

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