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Was It Wrong For A City To Penalize This Nice Lady For Handing Out Free Water Bottles?

Submitted by on September 10, 2012 – 10:45 amNo Comment

It’s amazing that things like this still happen. In this day and age where nobody—okay, almost nobody—does anything nice out of the kindness of their own heart anymore, you’d think that the city of Phoenix would allow Dana Crow-Smith to do something nice for people. You’d think that they’d allow her to hand out free bottles of water to those who need it. You’d think that something like that wouldn’t be a huge deal. But, as it turns out, you’d think wrong.

Recently, Crow-Smith attended an arts event in Phoenix that was held on public property. While she was there, she decided that she wanted to do something nice to show off her “Christian faith.” So, she got a bunch of water bottles and started handing them out to people who wanted or needed them. But, her good deed ended up getting punished. Police quickly asked her to stop because she was violating a city ordinance that forces people to obtain a permit whenever they are “vending, selling, serving, displaying, offering for sale or giving away goods.” Because Crow-Smith hadn’t obtained a permit, they put the kibosh on her operation—even though she was simply doing it to be nice and not to make money.

In the aftermath of the event, things have been tense between the city of Phoenix and Crow-Smith. A conservative group has threatened to sue the city in order to get them to change their policy. The city has contended that Crow-Smith is lucky she wasn’t fined for her infraction. And, everyone has missed the point here: That people in Phoenix and other cities around the country are going to stop doing nice things for others because of what happened here. What’s the point if you’re just going to catch a ton of flack for it?

Phoenix isn’t completely wrong here for shutting Crow-Smith. Rules like the one she broke are in place for a reason. But, at the same time, there should be some sort of dialogue going down to prevent a similar situation from taking place in the future. Otherwise, this will all be for naught. And, nice people like Crow-Smith will stop doing nice things. Is that really what we want?

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