Let’s stop demonizing Baltimore’s ‘squeegee kids’ | READER COMMENTARY

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A street corner window washer wears a face mask to protect himself from the coronavirus while soliciting vehicles an intersection in downtown Baltimore. File. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez).

I want to voice my reaction to the letter from my friend Buzz Cusack that puts a positive face on the “squeegee kids” even though he chooses not to give to them (”Try being respectful toward windshield cleaners,” Dec. 4). I also live in Bolton Hill, so I travel the same intersection at Mt. Royal and North avenues at least once a day. I make a point of having $1 bills handy in order to give to these boys because I remember when my sons were growing up they earned money lifeguarding, pet sitting and washing cars behind our rowhouse. These opportunities and advantages aren’t available to the squeegee kids, so they dodge traffic at a busy intersection and are almost always cheerful doing so — often leaving a sudsy heart on my windshield when I’m out of bills. Then on the south side of the intersection is a panhandler who says he’s a veteran. He always greets me with a smile and adds a pantomimed tennis move because he knows I’m on my way to play. Our interaction leaves me with a smile, too. So going in and out of Bolton Hill costs me $2 and gives me an opportunity for a bit of kindness and some positive engagement with my fellow man.

Finally, I have a friend who lives in Baltimore County who passes through this intersection on the way to city events. Her response to the industrious and friendly squeegee kids is to see them as “ambassadors” from one neighborhood to another.


Lynn A. Cripps, Baltimore

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