Since 2009, David Breaux has had a mission. Also known as the “Compassion Guy,” Breaux wants to raise awareness about compassion. Monday through Saturday, he stands on the corner of Third and C Street, across from Crepeville, and asks passersby about their concept of the word. He has complied a book called Compassion Davis, CA: A Compilation of Concepts on Compassion from a portion of the thousands of anonymous entries he gathered from June to December of 2009.
Breaux has continued gathering definitions, though he’s unsure whether or not they’ll be published. A resident of Davis Community Meals on H Street, he said he chose his corner location downtown because he felt it was unobtrusive, but he could also reach out to a lot of people walking, biking and driving in the area.
Breaux started his mission in front of Save Mart in north Davis but moved to his current location after the Save Mart manager asked him to leave. A customer had complained about Breaux’s presence outside the store.
The Stanford graduate shared his favorite submission: “Compassion is giving a friend a $3 chocolate chip cookie from the Co-op when you were saving it for later.” To him, compassion means growth toward truth.
“My definition has evolved since I began,” Breaux said. “I don’t remember my original definition. It was a longer paragraph, but I learned and read other definitions and now just have three words to define it.”
Deeba Yavrom, UC Davis alumnus, took photos for the book. He originally met Breaux last year at the Grace House, where Yavrom was working on a photography project aimed at bringing attention homeless issues in Davis.
The Grace House holds Grace in Action, a faith-based community ministry serving homeless individuals by equipping the church to provide compassionate care, spiritual companionship, rest and respite and referrals to local agencies. The ministry links those struggling with homelessness and agency shelter programs.
Yavrom said Breaux gave him free range on what photos to take for the book, but he and Breaux mutually agreed upon which to include. “We ended up becoming friends,” Yavrom said. “It was fun working together and I will continue to help him in the future based on the book.”
Robert Davis, an administrative support volunteer at the Grace House, met Breaux over a year ago and has been encouraging Breaux to write the book.
“He is the real deal,” Davis said. “He is a calming influence who is a good listener, approachable, simple and honest.”
Breaux said he plans on doing this for “the rest of this life.” He said his intent is to go to different cities, but only if he is enlightened and receives an invitation from another city.
“I’ve been corresponding with people from Compassionate Action Network [a website] since last summer and I sense the invitation is coming soon,” Breaux said. “I will take any invitation with the exception of Las Vegas, which I have to refuse because of a personal preference to stay away from there.”
Currently, he is brainstorming ways of taking his actual written papers and making pathways of compassion worldwide.
Breaux will start selling the book on the corner of Third and C Street on Feb. 23. The book should move to local bookstores at a later date.
The Printer, an independent printing company on Cowell Boulevard, is publishing the book. It will be on sale for $15. For more information on Breaux visit compassionguy.ning.com
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached email@example.com.