Thursday, October 06, 2005

Friendship That's Gold

I'd like the world to witness true friendship in action. Check this out:

October 5, 2005

Cindy Proffitt
Main Street Properties
2111 Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220

Dear Cindy,

I spoke with you on the phone today regarding Joe Kight's rental application. I understand that you are simply doing your job, but perhaps in some circumstances, a little human compassion is permitted. Giving that he had $6000 in the bank, and work lined up, requiring a letter from FEMA was completely unnecessary. Do you realize how difficult it is to even get someone on the phone at FEMA, much less write a letter? He offered to have someone co-sign for his lease. Why was that not sufficient, given his circumstances?

As you can see from my return address, I am also from the devastated area of New Orleans. My home is not going to be habitable for at least 6 months. I am in Nashville, and relying on the kindnesses of many random strangers, who, thankfully, have bent some rules for me. My landlord here in Nashville gave me my apartment on a month to month lease, and no deposit, because he understood the severity of my situation. He didn't even have me fill out an application, much less do a credit check. He simply met me at a coffee shop, and decided to trust me.

I know Joe Kight well, and if you met him and didn't trust him and like him immediately, then there must be something wrong with you. If you did trust him, and like him as I'm sure you did, then here was your opportunity to do something tangible for someone who has lost everything, but someone who is smart and capable and optimistic enough to start his life over in a new city. And he chose Richmond. Unfortunately, you were one of the first people in Richmond who could help him.

When I spoke to you, I, rather rudely I admit, asked if you could sleep at night. You responded very calmly, "I can."


I can't. Joe Kight can't. Half a million displaced Americans can't. It must be nice for you. I hope and pray that the city of Richmond never ever has to experience anything even close to what we have gone through in New Orleans. If you do, Cindy, don't bother coming to New Orleans. No one there will help you. His story and your behavior are becoming well known.

You should read more than just what he wrote about you. Read the horrors of what people have been going through, and you might get an inkling of the audacity of your request for a letter from FEMA. I'm sure there are kind and sensible people in Richmond, and I know Joe will find a place to live. I'm sorry you missed this opportunity to do some good in the world.

Sweet dreams.

Sara Essex
PO Box 22093
Nashville, TN 37202

cc: William White, President of the Board, Richmond Association of Realtors;
and L. Douglass Wilder, Mayor, City of Richmond


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