The Human Goodness Short Story-Imani Amour

Hello fellow wave writers.

I know I already posted this story, about the specific quality that deems humans as good people, in the inquiry section of my blog. However, I realized that since a large portion of that post was a short story, it would only be rational to also post it in the short story section. So without further ado, here is the human goodness story.

Which specific quality determines whether a person is “good” or “bad. -Imani-Amour Late on a freezing, winter night, a man is walking home through the city from his job as a janitor at a local community center.  That day, as he listened to the radio, weather forecasters had warned of temperatures reaching as low as -20°C by around now. “The things I would do to own a car to get me home right now,” he thought as he coughed and shoved his frost-bitten fingers into his thin jacket pockets. He would also do a lot of things to have a thicker, warmer jacket but this was the only one he could afford. Despite a paycheck that was smaller than he would have liked, the man loved his job as a janitor. Getting to see all the folks who often came around to the community center made the cleanup and low income worth it. Nearly home, the man is passing the local pharmacy when he is stopped by a nearly inaudible voice.

“Sir… D-Do you h-have any m-money?” a pale, tiny, shivering woman covered in nothing but thin blankets looked up at the man as she clung to a newborn in her arms. Her hair was in messy, uncombed strands and she huddled down on the ground, trying to retain the heat that the violent winter winds kept robbing.

Seeing that this homeless woman was in trouble, the man felt inside his pockets for cash only to come up dry. His income allowed him only $10 of spending money a day if he were to maintain decent savings and a back account. These $10 had been spent on his only meal that day.

“No, m’am I’m afraid not. What do you need? Maybe I can get it.”

“Sinus medicine for my baby. He’s got a cold.”

The man felt such sympathy for the woman as he watched her shiver on the ground with pleading eyes. She was half-frozen, struggling here on the street yet her heart longed only to help her baby. He wished he could dash up to his apartment and grab some blankets for the woman and her baby; surely they would get hypothermia and die if they stayed out there any longer. However he only had one blanket which was thin, filled with holes and over 5 years old. She desperately needed help and it killed the man that there was nothing he could do about it…unless…

The man made a quick check for cameras over both of his shoulders before carefully turning his glance to the pharmacy doors. They weren’t that rigid and no one was really around on the streets but him and the woman. His locksmith uncle had given him a few lessons on breaking locks when he was younger. The man fancied he could help the woman after all; if not by giving her something, then by getting her something.

“Just a minute, m’am. Wait right here.”

The man broke out in a brisk walk towards the pharmacy doors. He knew that breaking in to stores was illegal and risky, but he could not have to death of that woman and her baby on his hands. It took the man only a few seconds before the locksmith techniques of his uncle return before he was in the building. Pulling out his work flashlight to navigate his way through the aisles, he located the medicine and was off escaping to the door. He had never done something so risky in his life and he couldn’t believe he was getting away with it. He was almost to the doors when he accidentally kicked over a decorative display in his scurry. The sensors detected the loud noise and the alarms of the pharmacy started ringing.

He sprinted out and threw the box of medicine to the woman in his wild dash to get out. “Hope it helps,” is all he said before he continued all the way to his apartment hoping the police didn’t catch him. The next day, police were at the man’s door to arrest him; they were able to identify him from the security cameras in the pharmacy. The man was found guilty at his court trial and sentenced to a month in jail. During his time in jail, the woman came to see the man and to thank him for the deed he did for her. She told him that as police, firetrucks and ambulances crowded around the pharmacy area that night, one ambulance driver saw the state of her baby and took it to the hospital for care. The nurse had told the woman that the hospital was low on sinus medicine and had it not been for the janitor’s stolen medicine, the baby would have died.

So, fellow writers and philosophers, after carefully pondering this scenario, my question is: Was the man good or bad and which specific quality makes him that way? It is clear that he has unnecessarily done something illegal by breaking in and stealing from a pharmacy. The doctors and pharmacists have been robbed of medicine and potential income by this man. It is also clear, that the man has done something good by selflessly saving the life of the woman’s child. Or was that deed unnecessary and the janitor’s fault for getting involved in other people’s business? You tell me readers, which perspectives on the man should determine what he truly is? Should the perspective of the law, which sees the man as a criminal, deem his a villain or does the perspective of the woman, which sees him as a life saver, overpower the law’s view?


Copyright © 2016 by Imani-Amour
All rights reserved. This publication or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in written works.

6 thoughts on “The Human Goodness Short Story-Imani Amour

  1. First off, I want to say that what you’re doing with your blog is awesome! Building a community of writers sounds very cool and you have my vote!

    This story was very interesting. I love the moral question you posed. I truly believe there is no right or wrong answer here. BUT, I personally believe the life of the baby overpowered the law in this case. This baby could grow up to be someone who can positively impact society. On the other hand, stealing is wrong and you could argue that what the janitor did wasn’t right because he can’t justify his actions even though he had good intentions.

    I believe he did the right thing, though.

    If you ever need a short story posted on here from another writer (I’m a writer) feel free to check out my stuff (humorous short fiction) and let me know if you deem it worthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He broke the law, but he did save the baby by his actions. My question is why didn’t he take her to his home to get out of the cold? Or why not call for help to get her and the child to the hospital? He did not have to break into the pharmacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Darnell: I guess you’ve caught a glitch in the “moral matrix.” The me from 3 years ago did not think those plot-holes through when I desperately attempted to create a moral conflict for the story. Fortunately, my plot development skills have arguably augmented since then and your work has inspired me to release more thoughtful plots from here on out. Thanks for the support!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. He was/is a Good man, with a place Assured for him in Christ’s heaven. Laws are OK, but when divided into human and Divine laws, what he did was Right. As for not having taken her home, we can say many things about that. If we take it that the thought did not strike him, case closed.

    …Let us live according to Love and Justice, rather than concerned about ‘laws,’ which have too many ‘flaws!’

    …Regards, my Dear Imani. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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