He lay prostrate on the cold hard ground, too tired to move a limb. He was so still it was easy to mistake him for dead. His clothes were threadbare and dirty, torn in many places and obviously too big for what one could easily tell was a severely starved body. His shirt was light and offered little protection against the cold that was seeping into his torso as he lay on the ground. It had rained the previous night and although the well-paved walkways and cemented gutters had helped to siphon off the deluge, leaving almost no sign of the downpour, a chill could still be felt in the air.
That was the reason why most of the passersby wore heavy coats and sweaters which hid smartly dressed men and women carrying expensive suitcases and handbags walking briskly to the high-rise buildings which almost blocked out the skyline in this area and housed the many offices were they worked. The cars that passed by would also have made a connoisseur proud: all slick, new and big and sporting some of the biggest labels in the industry. The windows were tinted and rolled all the way up and if any of the owners or drivers may have happened to glance out their cars, they didn’t give any indication that they cared even a bit for the young man lying across the street.
Soon, a security guard from the office building closest to the prostrate fellow came around to try to get him off their surroundings. It was clear he was an aberration to the orderly and neat surroundings and the companies that leased these office buildings paid lots of money to keep things that way. The guard finally helped the man up through a combination of threats, cajoling and physically holding him up and sent him on his way. The man, tired as he was, knew he had to get out of there. He was hungry: he had collapsed on that stretch the previous night because he was famished and he had no idea where he was going to get his next morsel of food.
As he lumbered away, a woman in a chauffeur-driven car who had witnessed the security guard’s attempts to get the man off the area commented “Good riddance” and turned her attention back to the daily devotional booklet which she read everyday on her way to her job as an executive in one of the biggest companies in the country. Today’s sermon was on Luke 16:19-31: “The Rich Man and Lazarus”; and when she finished, she said a short prayer to thank God for her blessings and to ask for help to complete a new deal that was certain to increase her company’s wealth. When the car rolled to a stop in its reserved spot, she stepped out importantly, straightened her dress and walked off confidently into the office building, the irony of the past few moments completely lost on her.