Downtown St. Louis is so St. Louis.
What if I told you that there’s one elected leader in town who has on multiple occasions stopped a constituent hellbent on getting fatally hit by a car?
Years ago, this was the scene: the elected driving his truck late at night at a slow speed down one of his ward’s main thoroughfares. Behind him was a man with a long gray beard, shuffling slowly against traffic, amid a break with reality, a bad drunk or effort to kill himself.
But the elected, himself driving against traffic, blared his horn and flashed his lights to alert cars who might otherwise mow down the poor soul.
“Come on!” the elected yelled, craning his neck backward out his window. “Let’s all just get home tonight.”
Minutes ago, I’d nearly struck the man moseying down the middle of the street. I’d doubled back to see if I could help, but the elected had swooped in making me superfluous.
The distressed man shuffled several more blocks as the elected kept honking, directing oncoming cars to one side of his truck or the other.
The elected eventually convinced the man it was getting cold and going to be a long walk home, so he might as well accept a ride. The bearded man hoisted himself up into the passenger seat. The elected asked me if I wanted a ride back to my car.
“No thanks,” I said. Words were going to pass back between the two men, and I didn’t want to get in the way.
Every week, the
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