A reader writes:

I live in suburban Orange County, California, which is great place for my family and the weather can't be beat. I grew up near Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to the US in the late '80s, when the UK was just a mess. Orange County is one of the most conservative, wealthier counties in the US. Even so, I had an unbelievable experience the other day that brought home the recession in a way that still upsets me.

While on a lunch break I pulled into a gas station in Irvine to gas up. While I was standing around waiting for my gas guzzler to fill up I heard a small boy crying. Over in the far corner of the parking lot was a fairly nice sedan, late '90s model, perhaps a Lexus. It was parked next to the air-and-water pump. I could not see anyone but I could still hear a child crying from somewhere near the car. Then I heard something like "No, Daddy, that hurts." Well, this got my attention real quick, so I wandered around the back of my car to get a better look.

Two small good looking young boys, ages roughly 3 and 7 were being bathed in the free water pump by their parents. The young kid was crying as the water was cold and the dad was attempting to rinse the shampoo from his son's hair  The mom was trying to comfort the young one. When I looked at the car again I noticed it was absolutely packed with clothes, etc.  It hit me right away that this family was homeless.

I could just see the sadness and desperation on the mom's face. I felt a chill inside. I walked up to the dad and offered him all the cash I had - about $30. The look in his eyes was something I will always remember: grateful, yet ashamed. A sad, sad situation. And for this to happen in Orange County is just remarkable.

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