by Travis Gruber

Main Entry: al·tru·ism Your browser may not support display of this image.
Pronunciation: 'al-trü-"i-z&m
Etymology: French altruisme, from autrui other people, from Old French, oblique case form of autre other, from Latin alter
1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others
2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species

It would not be outside anyone’s acceptance of reason to say that I am an asshole. And you would probably be right, I generally am an asshole. But every now and then I get the urge to do something altruistic. It’s rare, but occasionally, I am a nice person.

Of course there are moments in everyone’s life where they want to reach out that helping hand. When the world trade center thing happened I was 21 and called in to their phone line and donated ten dollars. Ten dollars that probably went to administrative fees of the charity that had been established. Boy nothing makes me feel like a good human being than giving money that’s going to end up paying for a secretary to help file paper work instead of actually doing some good.

Then there was hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit I volunteered as soon as I could and I ended up missing the plane by four hours. So once again I reached into my meager wallet to try and help some people. Wow, look at all of the good that did. FEMA cards were used to buy lap dances and plasma screens. Had I known that donations and federal money were going to be spent that way I would’ve just taken my forty bucks to Gold Club Centerfolds and had myself a fine lap dance.

Now I too have been the recipient of my fair share of good deeds throughout my life. I spent the better amount of 2005 and 2006 living off of Karma and the good will of others. Brian took me in when I returned from my forced government vacation and then a little while after that Job and his family allowed me to live with them, on a moments notice. When I was planning on getting engaged I – at the time – had no car and my friend Ryan gave me the use of his extra car, indefinitely. I couldn’t afford the ring I wanted to propose to my girlfriend and two of her friends helped me pay for it as their engagement present. My family fell on some hard times and my friend took it upon herself to help me in trying to provide a better Christmas for my family. Yes, all of this took place in the last two years. Yes, I would consider myself rather lucky.

Now it’s my turn to help, but this time I, and hopefully you, will actually make a difference.

This is a picture of a man named Scott.

Scott is currently homeless in the Salt Lake city area. Scott has a blog thanks to the free computers at the University of Utah and’ free web hosting service. That fact, in and of itself, is actually a testament to technology in today’s society. Scott was, at one point, a drug addict and an alcoholic which, to my understanding, is what has landed him on the street in the first place. He’s trying to turn his life around through hard work, dedication, and faith. On top of everything else, Scott sleeps outside every night in a camp that he has made. Put that together Homeless + Utah in winter + outside = one freezing fucking man.

Now while I have my own views of god and religion it always makes me feel good to see someone who has faith that is so strong that it allows them to persevere where most people would give up. Scott is in the process of turning over a new leaf and I would like to, along with the help of the staff of FTTW and its readers, to help him.

Before I tell you what I would like to do I want to answer what I am sure is the question that is brewing in the back of everyone’s mind. “With the glut of internet scammers the world over how can we tell that this guy is not just faking it to get attention and free stuff from chumps like you Travis?”

How about this for an answer: I DON’T CARE.

I personally don’t think that this man is faking it and I see in him something that I don’t see in the bums that I see everyday: he wants to make things right. He doesn’t want to ‘spare for change’; he wants to make a living. He doesn’t sit on his ass getting drunk every day, he goes out and tries to find day labor and help. Because he’s making the effort, so will I.

I want to create a care package for Scott. I have a delivery address that he can receive mail at and I want to send him some stuff – for lack of a better word – that will assist him in his everyday journey. I have collected the following items so far:

A North Face one man tent

A winter weight sleeping bag (both from my father

One large black military style weather resistant back pack.

Some warm clothing.

Here’s what I would like you, both staff and readers, to do if you feel so inclinded: Contribute. If you have a warm sweatshirt that you don’t wear anymore, send it. If you have a some large socks, send ‘em. If you have a warm beanie, send it. If you want to help with shipping, send me five bucks. If you have anything that would benefit a grown man who is sleeping in the snow every night, send it. I know that the typical tradition when something like this comes up is just to grab stuff around the house that you don’t need and place it in the barrel at work but no one, and I mean NO ONE, wants to eat beets.

I would like to put together everything so it fits in the backpack (which is rather large) that way it is protected from the elements and he can take everything with him when he leaves his camp. If you would like to contribute you can contact me at htkpeeps at . I will give you the address to send the stuff to me, I will package it, and send it off to Scott. If you want to help with the shipping or just want to give Scott some cash I’ll take that at the same address.

This coming year my fiancé and I are going to spend more money in one day than I have ever spent on anything in my life. You are probably going to buy new cars, new computers, new houses, new clothes. Essentially we are all going to have fairly easy, by most standards, lives. Scott probably won’t but maybe we can give help a leg up when he needs it. Hopefully, together, we can make a difference in the life of a guy who’s trying to do the right thing.



stepping off the soap box



jeez, utah in the winter. How about a bus ticket to Phoenix? Nah just kidding i will dig around in my things-to-find-new-homes-for box and see what i can come up with.


thanks pril, let me know what you find.


Hey Travis, don't assume we're all affluent, okay? Nowehere near as bad off as Scott, but unemployed and facing bankruptcy's no picnic, either. Will dig through what I've got for him, though.


I'm sorry if I assumed that everyone reading this was affluent. I'm not in the greatest situation myself but that's why I asked people to give what they could.


Yea, I'm not in a great situation myself, but I know I can at least dig up five bucks to help you with shipping.


ok so far i found a woolly hat, and i think i have some of those knitted gloves, and i can probably pick up some handwarmers or something, maybe some of the wool boot socks? I'll get a hold of you after Saturday if that's ok?


Fine with me Pril. I appreciate your help


I don't think MANY people are in good positions financially, especially at this time of year, but you can always go through your attic/basement and find some used hats/gloves/etc. You don't have to give a fortune to help out.

So, Travis, where do we send this stuff?


I don't want to put my full name and address of my work out on the internet but anyone interested in helping out can email at htkpeeps at and I'll give you the street address.


not that I'm paranoid or anything


Nah, Travis, you're not paranoid, just wise to not put your address out there. Any idea what sizes Scott wears? We're an all-female household, but we've got a great Salvation Army store close by.


I've done a few "clean out the closets and take it to the homeless in San Francisco" projects, and I recall that the most asked for thing was clean socks. I don't have much to spare financially but I can afford a package of white cotton socks, and I can probably dig up a warm shirt or two from the closet. Let me know where to send them.

Also, a note to your contributing readers- the post office has priority mail boxes that are a flat rate no matter how heavy they are (within reason)- they're not huge but careful stuffing could save a little on postage.


How about some Safeway gift certificates (or certs for a grocery store near him if Safeway isn't in Utah... never been so I wouldn't know.)

I will look into it tonight and see what I find. I'll make sure to give it to you when we see each other this Sunday.


How about gift certificates for a local grocery store? I will check to see how many Safeways there are in SLC tonight.

I'll give it to you to send to him when we see each other on Sunday.


Sorry about the double post. I'm retarded and I don't know any better. Someone mentioned helping out with postage, that's a grand idea.


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