Pursuit of Happyness

I recently watched the movie "Pursuit of Happyness". I know it's been out for awhile. Most movies have to show up at the library before I consider them worth viewing (i.e. free rentals).

The movie is based on a true story about Chris Gardner. A brief summary: Chris falls on hard times and ends up homeless with his son while he works as an intern at Dean Witter.

I found the treatment of Chris by various people in the movie to be rather insightful. Since this is a Hollywood movie, however, I’m not sure if the portrayals are accurate.

When Chris is late with his rent the landlord asks Chris for the rent money. The landlord sees Chris struggling with his family and gives him an extra week. Compare this to the treatment of Chris by the government police when they discover Chris has unpaid parking tickets. The police impound his car and take him down to the station where he is held until the check clears for the parking tickets (I think that is why they retained him…struggling to remember now). Chris tries to explain that he is the only caretaker of his son. The police do not care. They allow Chris to make a phone call to arrange care for his son. The police hold Chris in jail.

Later in the movie Chris is kicked out of a motel because he is unable to pay. The owner of the motel places all of Chris’s belongings outside the hotel door and changes the lock. This seems harsh but compare that with the treatment of Chris by the IRS. The IRS discovers Chris owes back taxes and takes the owed taxes from Chris’s bank account. It leaves Chris with around $20 to his name. The IRS just reaches into Chris’s bank account and takes the money. The hotel owner simply put Chris’s property outside the hotel room door. He did not steal it or confiscate it to make up for Chris’s lack of payment.

Amazing how compassionate people are when dealing with each other. Amazing how cold government employees are when dealing with anyone.

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