Business owner encourages empathy toward ‘people struggling’


We recently read an article in the Ballarat Courier – Gym owner shows compassion after break-in – which made us stop in our tracks.

It was about a young gym owner who had experienced a break-in, and the theft of a laptop and ipad. Rather than lash out against the offender with a negative tirade on social media, the business owner posted a video encouraging people to think about what might drive someone to offend, and to be empathetic to those who are doing it tough.

“There are a lot of people out there who are not doing as well as you might be. Many are struggling with addiction and homelessness and have issues we don’t know about.”

As a peak body we are so often responding to media coverage which presents the notion that disadvantage, poverty and homelessness are personal decisions made in a vacuum, with no external causes.

What an inspiring and enlightened message that Sean is sharing. He has chosen to look at the bigger picture issues that may have driven the offender to steal. We don’t know whether or not the person was homeless, but we do know that person felt desperate enough to steal items for which they’d be lucky to get a few hundred dollars.

The vast majority of us have been born into functional enough families; with secure housing, without abuse and with the opportunity to complete schooling.

But some people haven’t been that lucky. Nobody condones crime, but we can all have the compassion to consider the offender’s motivations.

People are not inherently good or bad. We are all people, and we all have the capacity to make poor decisions. Some people are more liable to make poor decisions in the context of life circumstances that most of us thankfully never have to contemplate.

Thank you, Sean Weir Fitness, for bringing humanity to an otherwise discouraging situation. We can all take a leaf out of your book.