My Australia Day story

I was walking down Swanston Street alone one day, near the City Baths, (I was about 15 years old) when I saw a homeless man coming towards me. He looked rough – dirty clothes, unshaven, the type of man whose age has been obliterated by hard times. I braced myself. Experience had taught me that a racist remark doesn’t hurt nearly as much if you are expecting it. I had grown up with racial taunts my whole life but you never get used to them. You say to yourself that those people are just ignoramuses, but it doesn’t help. I gritted my teeth. As the man passed he opened his mouth to speak. But to my surprise and great joy, he said in a beautiful gravelly voice, ‘Gidday me ol’ China plate.’

This is a good reminder to always expect the unexpected and to never judge by outward appearances.


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