Saturday, 12 April 2008

Bag lady blues

Toronto Star readers were quick to react to Wayne Wulff's shamefully orchestrated and opportunistic "bag lady" con to collect a $1,000 reward for a lost $77,000 violin.

Seven of the Star's letters to the editor yesterday all dumped on Wulff for collecting the reward after giving the homeless woman $35 and a $40 pinky ring for the violin and case she found on the Queens Quay W. a week earlier and kept in her shopping cart.

We were hoping for a Toronto Sun story yesterday saying the homeless woman had been found and a wrong would be made right, but not a word. Rabble and other web sites are receiving a flood of comments about the story.

The only proper ending to this sad tale is for the homeless woman to be found and properly compensated. Brighten her day, make her feel special for a brief moment in time instead of victimizing her once again.

Had this woman not picked up the case at the streetcar shelter, someone else might have walked off with Jim Wallenberg's cherished violin - made for him by his mother in 1972 - never to be seen again.

Or, as one of the Star readers said, the homeless woman possibly prevented vandals from finding and destroying the violin.

Wallenberg, a Toronto Symphony Orchestra violinist, handed Wulff a $1,000 cheque on Wednesday. Wulff said he would be flying off to Las Vegas with his loot.

Wulff told the Sun, the Star and the National Post he would give the homeless woman something if he sees her again. Anything short of 50% of the $1,000 reward - less the $75 he gave her - will not do.

It was, indeed, a dark and stormy night in Toronto last night. Somewhere, a homeless woman slept close to her shopping cart carrying her worldly possessions and a $40 pinky ring.

The big difference last night? She was in the hearts of newspaper readers who went to bed in their comfy homes hoping Wulff will do the right thing.

If not Wulff, let's pass the hat.

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