Fredericton — Passersby near the provincial legislature were annoyed, then pleasantly surprised today when they were approached by a wispy-haired, dirty old man who later revealed himself to be Brian Gallant all along.
Gallant, or “Old Man Jenkins,” as he called his disguise, would stumble up to anyone walking by and start yelling in broken English about employment insurance and pension plans. If his targets politely listened to the entire rant instead of turning up their noses like so many Frederictonians, he would rip off his mask and wig, reveal his dazzling smile, and hand them a cheque for $2,000.
Gallant told The Manatee that his intentions were to to teach people in the capital city a valuable lesson about not judging others by their appearances.
“Fredericton treats their homeless like crap. They try to ignore them, or they look at them like they’re pieces of trash that even the city garbagemen refused to pick up. Maybe now they’ll be nice to every homeless person they see in case it turns out to be a certain kindly premier,” winked Gallant.
Apparently Gallant had no intention of continuing the city-wide life lesson until asked by The Manatee.
“Well, I really only planned on doing it this one time, because I’m actually using my own money. But maybe if my people show that they really care, just maybe I’ll do it again,” explained the premier. “I need to see a smile on the face of every homeless in Fredericton before I consider it, though.”
One of those lucky enough to be a recipient of the premier’s generosity expressed excitement with the day’s events.
“This is amazing! I was on my way to buy some artwork at Isaac’s Way, and now I can afford even more,” raved an ecstatic Sheila Timmins. “What a quaint little premier, but lucky me, I guess!”
But Gallant’s plan may not have had its desired effect on everyone. Frank Dunsworth said he wished he’d known what was going on when Gallant was handing out the money, but now he worries that it’s too late.
“I really want $2,000, but at the same time I don’t want to get tricked into a conversation with a homeless person,” said a sorrowful Dunsworth. “I just need some time to weigh the pros and cons and figure out if it’s worth it for me.”