This article was originally written on LinkedIn.
Is it okay if I help you?
Fear was on his face.
Frustration was on his friend’s face. Try as he might, he couldn’t reach his friend. His height limited what he could do.
Sounds of joy and laughter, games of chase were happening all around the park this evening. Even I was smiling at the fun being had…
until I saw his face.
Monkey bars can be intimidating when you’re all of 5 years old. It’s a looooong way down. And when your friend is stuck, rescuing him can be even more intimidating.
I was expecting an adult to come over and help, but all were engrossed in their own happenings. No one was coming to help.
It’s not that I didn’t want to help. I do…I did…but I know how this world is right now. Stay in your own lane, mind your own business. You go your way, I’ll go mine. One doesn’t dare venture too far out of their own sphere because one never knows if being a Good Samaritan could be a lawsuit waiting to happen.
But, I saw his face.
I stopped my evening walk in the park and asked his friend, “Do you want some help?”. A relief-filled “Yes” came out of his mouth.
Still, I was unsure. I asked the little one clinging to the monkey bars, “Is it okay if I help you?.” A trembling, “Yeah” was all the assurance I needed.
I had just barely reached him when he fell into my arms. Good thing I’m still young enough to have solid reflexes. Gratefulness replaced fear upon his face. They thanked me and I resumed my walk.
Another young boy, I guess aged 10, thanked me from a distance away. “You’re welcome,” I said.
Why am I writing this? I don’t know. Walking away, I couldn’t help but think that we need more of that in the world. Yes, yes, being willing to help, sure. But, rather, I think we need more awareness. Awareness of what is going on around us.
I could have kept walking. I could have been so engrossed to what I was listening to on my phone and missed it. I could have gone up to adults all around the park and said, “Hey, is that your kid? He needs help.” Instead, I stopped.
And I was reminded to be aware.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own “stuff”. Our own thoughts, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, causes, situations, feelings, careers – that we could miss an opportunity to simply help. I’ve done this far too often than I care to admit.
Before helping these kids in need, I didn’t ask these kids if their parents were Republicans or Democrats. I didn’t ask them what religion their family belonged to. I didn’t ask what their parents thought of (enter current hot topic here). None of that mattered.
Fear was on his face.
Rescuing him was all that mattered.