My condo neighbours are breaking the two-person elevator rule

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Dear Urban Diplomat: My condo neighbours are breaking the two-person elevator rule

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live on the 33rd floor of a condo. During Covid, the building only allows two passengers in the elevator, and the wait times have been hellacious. I recently noticed a group flouting the rules, packing seven people in. When I called them out, they told me to mind my own business. I’m considering going to the condo board. What do you think?
—Elevator Snitch, Liberty Village

Technically, you were in the right. Per the city bylaw, elevator riders must maintain six feet of distance unless they live together, which explains the two-person rule. But it’s no surprise you got some pushback—people are weary of self-appointed pandemic police. Unfortunately, complaining to the condo board probably won’t solve anything. Best-case scenario, they put up more signage, which your neighbours ignore anyway. The good news is that the risk of infection during a short elevator ride is minimal if everyone masks up. So just keep calm, carry on and pray for herd immunity.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My new neighbours are vacationing in Florida this month, and they hired me to take care of their cats while they’re away. When I went to their apartment, I was shocked to find the place was squalid, and they had not two, not three, but five yowling cats, all using the same overflowing litter box. At this point, I’m thinking about calling animal services, but I don’t want to make an enemy for life. Any advice?
—Pet Peeved, Willowdale

First, email your neighbours to explain that their felines seem forlorn. Ask if they’ll cover the cost of some toys and treats, a house cleaning, a few more litter boxes—anything to make the cats more comfortable. If they’re willing to pony up a few bucks, then they probably just need some guidance on proper pet parenting. If they refuse, you can assume the situation won’t ever improve, and, yes, call animal services (1-833-9-ANIMAL). Protecting the cats trumps neighbour relations.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
One of my co-workers has long Covid, so he’s been on unpaid leave for a couple of months. He sent around a link to a GoFundMe page meant to cover his lost wages. I know for a fact that he isn’t vaccinated, even though he could have gotten the jab well before he got sick. It seems wrong that he’s asking for help in a situation of his own making, and I’m considering telling my colleagues. Should I?
—Charity Case, Thorncliffe Park

You don’t have to pitch in to this guy’s get-well fund, but you should show him some sympathy—he’s ill, off the job and probably broke. Rather than rally your workmates against him, inquire about the source of his vaccine hesitancy and give him some facts to consider: early research shows that vaccination can improve Covid symptoms, and some long-haulers have reported that their symptoms disappeared altogether post-jab. It might be just the nudge he needs to bring him around to getting dosed.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I work part time in retail, and my manager just banned us from wearing poppies for Remembrance Day, sending out an internal memo that said it would be “inappropriate to glorify war in today’s political climate.” My grandfather fought in World War II, and several other family members are in the military. I think everyone should have the right to wear a poppy if they want. Should I say something at the risk of pissing off my boss?
—Must We Forget?, Pickering

Plenty of people understandably see poppies as a symbol of jingoism. Try telling your manager that you want to wear one to honour veterans and fallen soldiers, not war itself. Be sure to share a few details about your family’s service. If your workplace refuses to reconsider, you can still flout the rules with impunity—Queen’s Park introduced legislation last year protecting employees’ right to wear a poppy. Ask yourself what’s more important: respecting your ancestors or pleasing a middle manager.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
Every morning, I take my dog to the off-leash park. A few weeks ago, a random guy started showing up (without a dog of his own, mind you) and doling out treats. I’m totally not cool with it. First, there’s no way to know what he’s feeding them. Second, the dogs go into an absolute frenzy, surrounding the man instead of frolicking around. I’d like to intervene, but the other dog owners don’t seem to think this guy is a problem. Thoughts?
—Paw Patrol, Humber Heights

This biscuit-bearing stranger probably isn’t trying to poison your pooch. It’s more likely that he just wants to make a few friends, both furry and human. The only way to find out is to talk to him. Next time you’re at the park, introduce yourself and ask which dog is his. Maybe he’ll volunteer that he doesn’t have a dog but he’s thinking of getting one, or that he just lost his dog and visiting the park helps with the healing. If his explanation seems sketchy, inform the other owners. But if he just wants to spread his dog love, throw him a (figurative) bone and let it go.