Remembering Neil Alan Smith

Neil Alan Smith, 48, was a dishwasher at a Crab Shack in St. Petersburg, Florida. When he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, the St. Petersburg Times reported the story. An online commenter to the story responded:

A man who is working as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack at the age of 48 is surely better off dead.

The newspaper editors were deeply offended at this gross dismissal of the value of a human life, and responded by publishing a full obituary for Mr. Smith. He was a private man, but noted among a small circle of friends for working hard and sharing with those in need:

"He set his boundaries," said Peggy Rogers, 56, his roommate of six years. "He didn't pry into your business, so you just kind of respected that and you didn't do that to him."

He told friends he had been married and divorced, had managed a gas station in New Hampshire before moving to Florida in 1999. He got a concession stand job at Derby Lane, then started working at the Crab Shack.

He lived in a mobile home near the restaurant and paid rent to the owner, Bonnie Schaeffer-Mott. Once, when she feared the power company would shut off the electricity, she asked Mr. Smith for help.

He gave her more than what she had asked to borrow and insisted she take it. "I'll never forget that," said Schaeffer-Mott, 51.

Every life matters.

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: Tampa Bay Online

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There will always be insensitive jerks saying hateful things. They give us and awareness that helps the rest of us connect with our compassion and humanity. Also, we are all insensitive jerks sometimes. I'm glad there is so much more compassion than cruelty.
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In my observation, 'trolls' are looking to create anger and arguments. The paper's reaction of kindness to the action of cruelty does not, to me, seem to fit that desired response.

Any media story, however it may come about, that manages to get a large group of people to celebrate the life of someone rather than tear someone down is alright by me.
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Seriously, Design Monkey?

Let's see, who cared about this guy before somebody made the callous comment? Not you. You never heard of him. The story is about the troll, and the troll was successful. The trolling became the story. That's what trolls live for.

If you think that whoever posted the nasty comment rethought their view of life and repented their ways, then you've got a little too much pollyanna in your outlook.

Ironic statement: "I'd like to see the St Pete's Times track this troll down and see what he's doing with his life. My guess is not much"

Thanks for illustrating my other point so beautifully. People don't think much of this poor dishwasher - they're only reacting to the mean comment. Deep down, most people have no respect for those who are "unsuccessful" in life, according to society's standards. People would just as readily jump on the troll for his/her lack of success.
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