We may occasionally get annoyed with the car guards at shopping malls who run up to us and offer to help by carrying our groceries to our vehicles in exchange for a few coins we reluctantly dig out of our wallets. But what we don’t realise is that that money helps to keep their families afloat.

Now after 12 years of braving the elements of winter and summer outside the Bothasig Mall, car guards there have been dismissed without so much as a thank you.

Legally, it seems there is little they can do and there’s no union to fight for their rights. But, morally their dismissal stinks. It has stripped them of their income and their dignity.

Given only days notice, the men have been unble to find suitable replacement jobs. The money they earned put bread on their tables and kept their children in school.

They may not have had a contract guaranteering them formal employment at the mall, but their former supervisor says they were hard working and reliable. They weren’t obligated by a contract to visit him in the hospital after he suffered a stroke, but they did so anyway.

Contracts are all well and good, but if we want to go through this life treating others with respect and compassion we should listen to our consciences first, before reading the fine print.