Santa Clauses at White Flint Mall in Bethesda are handing out coloring books designed to raise funds for families undergoing experimental treatment at the National Institutes of Health. Bob Levey's column Monday incorrectly characterized the handouts. (Published 12/19/90)
Some hoorays, some boos . . . .
Hooray to the guys and gals who drive our subway trains. Over the last few months, they have consistently held doors open as last-minute rush-hour sprinters make a dash for it. In the old days, they'd blithely slam doors in faces as if pomegranates were the cargo, not people. Being a last-minute sprinter myself, I like the new days better.
Boo to White Flint, the shopping center that should know better. You know what W.F.'s Santa Clauses are giving the kiddies this year after they do the sit-in-the-lap bit? Not a lollipop. Not a high five. A White Flint shopping catalog. Getting a little crass in your old age, aren't you, St. Nick?
Hooray to the students at American University. The million-dollar Berendzen deal was obviously not the way to go. But without your push, it might have been pulled.
Boo to the city's licensing office, for killing a good idea with indifference. Several health-conscious readers had called me to ask if downtown sidewalk popcorn vendors should be required to post signs revealing the kind of oil they use in the cooking process. After all, some oils are artery-friendly, but most are not. Said the licensing operative to whom I spoke: "We have better things to worry about." Better than public health?
Hooray to my three friends at Ballou High School in Southeast Washington. They asked me not to publish their names, for fear of retribution. But they weren't cautious when it came time to move against a druggie who was dealing in the halls of the school. They notified the police officer who is assigned to the school every day. The druggie has since been told that he will become a busted druggie the next time he tries to make a sale. Thanks for calling to let me know, gang. It would have been easy to look the other way.
Boo to the gas station attendant in Crystal City who wouldn't bend for a woman in need. According to a reader who saw it happen, the woman wrestled with a gas pump. As sometimes happens when the line gets tangled, the pump won. The woman accidentally dribbled $3.50 worth of gas down the side of her car, not into her tank. The $3.50 was all the money the woman had, and she had somewhere important to be. Sorry, announced the attendant from inside his hermetically-sealed glass booth, the woman could not pump another $3.50 on credit, even though she promised to return with the money some other time. Sure, the woman might not have kept her promise. But for a paltry $3.50, wasn't it worth the risk? By the way, my informant and a couple of other bystanders took up a collection, so the woman was able to get wherever she needed to get. Cheers to them. None to the guy in the glass booth.
Hooray to an entrepreneur I know who says he's about to open yet another pizza delivery business. No room in the D.C. market, you say? There's room for this one. It'll bill itself as the only pizza company that observes traffic laws while bringing your pie to your door. Tentative name: Speed Limit Susie's.
Boo to the city for choosing to rebuild the Whitehurst Freeway. The last thing we need is to spend more dollars to squeeze more cars through the one part of the city that handles them least well. Better: a waterfront park. Better still: a waterfront park with a Blue/Orange Line Metro stop underneath it. Yes, I know it's too late and too expensive. But maybe some day, when federal transit funds are again flowing rather than seeping . . . .
Hooray to the Reston real estate agent who called me last week "to talk truth." He talked a lot of it. The guy says he has sold 10 homes since Nov. 1 and 30 since the beginning of the year. He can't understand all the gloom and doom about home sales hereabouts, because "I'm just doing what I was always trained to do: Sell houses at a reasonable price, and encourage sellers to do the same. If houses don't sell, it's because the price is too high. Simple. Basic. But a lot of the people in my business and a lot of their clients choose not to understand this because they're too greedy." That "amen" you just heard rattling off the distant mountain peaks was mine.
Boo to some who attended a fund-raiser last month for a non-profit called Best Buddies, at a new office building on 13th Street NW. As the evening ended, almost everyone tried to leave at once, and the coat-check system wasn't up to the crush. Many people helped themselves to coats that weren't theirs, either out of irritation or larceny. According to Best Buddies, now that the weather is turning cold, more than 30 partygoers have noticed that their coats were exchanged or stolen and have called to report it. Any fesser-uppers are urged to call Lisa Derx at 202-347-7265. No questions asked, no prosecutions contemplated.
Hooray to Union Station. When they said they could mix designer women's shops with Ninja Turtle movies and multinational fast food, amid the hustle-bustle of all those trains, this kid had his doubts. No longer. The place works, gloriously.