Frederictonians relieved 'Kindness Meters' remove human face from giving

Fredericton — Capital city residents can rest easy — instead of feeling compelled to toss change toward a fellow human being on the sidewalk, they can now give to a shiny green post sticking out of the ground.

Kindness Meters, retrofitted parking meters recently installed by Downtown Fredericton Inc., are a means of cracking down on the city’s panhandling problem; the change is redirected from the people begging to whichever local charities are most in need.

“I honestly used to feel sick with guilt every time I’d see a filthy beggar holding out a battered Tims cup,” said downtown resident Mary Clark. “I’d be walking to lunch at The Palate, and pass this guy who sits outside the CIBC. He’d invariably be looking for a handout, and then act all pissed off when I explained I needed that toonie to tip my waiter. He’s so entitled.”

kindness1Recently, though, Clark said she’s been able to feel the pride of giving without having to actually look at the person benefiting from her generosity. “A meter was installed right next to that particular beggar. So I go up to the meter, put in a dime, and the meter reads ‘thank you very much for your support.’ The panhandler never thanks me — I mean, I’ve never actually given him anything, but I can just tell by his look that he wouldn’t even be grateful for that dime.”

Gerry Hart, a GNB employee, said he’s had a similar experience with a panhandler who sits outside King’s Place Scotiabank. “I think I’d be more likely to give the guy something if he’d get a new outfit, or at least wash his hair or something. He’s begging all day! Like, can’t he afford a new suit by now? The Kindness Meters look good, and if I’m being honest with myself, looks do matter when I’m deciding where to allocate my spare change.”

A Manatee reporter interviewed the panhandler in question, who said that since the meters were installed he’s been making less than half his usual haul, despite his impressive guitar skills. “I play music and people can give at their leisure,” said the man. “Leave it to these uptight government assholes to let my mere existence ruin their day.”

Mayor Brad Woodside said the Kindness Meters are just very “Fredericton” overall. “When people think of Fredericton — at least when compared to other cities in the province — they think of prosperity,” he explained. “They think of a shiny, pretty place free from the grime of say, Saint John or certain parts of Moncton. We’re also a green city, and we’re clean to point of being clinical. So, the Kindness Meters make perfect sense. We can finally get that gooey, lovey feeling that we’re making a difference, without actually having to look at a person who makes us uncomfortable and without having to really do anything. And I think that’s what really matters.”

  1. I am really not too impressed with both womens reasoning, no “thank you”, “he needs to buy a new suit by now”. Please, upper crust coming out stinking. Are they really even putting their dime in the meter???

  2. Wow. It makes me a little sad for Fredericton that I genuinely can’t tell if this is satire or reality. Some of these quotes encapsulate how snobby this city can be. Great article Shauna.

  3. I think the idea behind the meters was a good thought, trying to help out charities and all that, but the people who pan handle all day most likely arnt going to benefit from that dime that you put in the meter, not directly anyway, they have more important things to buy than suites… like food. If you want to do them a kindness that won’t be put towards cigarettes drugs or alcohol, bring them some clothes that are still in good shape, or a really good burger.

  4. Wow, I cannot imagine people feeling guilty looking at a needy person and calling them ‘filthy’ ?..My goodness! just GIVE from the heart, it doesn’t hurt at all whether one looks back at you or not…but give a little more than your head says.

  5. In his article; the comments from the interviewed people, especially mayor Brad Woodside is the only thing that is filthy. She’s never given a dime yet assumes he wouldn’t say thank you? Sounds like a royal c*nt to me. I’ll make it a point to donate to the needy rather than feed the image of the greedy. Not all of Fredericton people are snobs. from a local Fredericton man.

  6. I have been born and raised in Fredericton and I can assure you the mayor is wrong in saying this green meter is “Fredericton”.

    The mayor’s comments are an embarrassment to this beautiful city. I don’t need a green meter to give me a “gooey, lovey feeling without having to really do anything”. Despite him thinking that’s all that really matters.

  7. To the people who still haven’t clued in yet or just really late knowing what the Manatee is. This site is satirical news site. Nothing should be taken seriously on here or believed.


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