October 22, 2014

Some things make my heart hurt


Preparing for a wedding and working early hours meant I ran in the evenings. Suited up and ready to go, I swung open our front door to find a short, slightly pudgy blond boy with a white bag.
"Hi, my name is Daniel and I am eight years old. I'm a part of an after-school children's program to keep kids off the street and I was wondering if you would like to buy a box of chocolate-covered almonds or give any extra donation toward it."
This kid's eyes caught me off guard, halting my usual "No thanks." Big and blue mingled with sadness and fear. He memorized his script well. He was completely alone. No adult hiding behind the corner of our garage watching and waiting to see how he performed, much like what happened with trick or treaters asking for candy or the local peewee hockey team wanting empty bottles.

He was alone.

I ducked behind the door to run his request by my family and to scrounge up some cash. My dad pulled out a five dollar bill and when he gave it to the boy, Daniel suggested he could keep the extra two dollars as a donation. My dad laughed. He let him keep the change.

Forty minutes later I rounded the corner toward home and started walking. In the distance I saw a short, slightly pudgy blonde holding a white bag on the other side of the street. Still alone. Looking from side to side, he impressed me as slightly self-conscious and lonely in his eight-year-old skin. I listened as Daniel gave his pitch to an older gentleman.

With a heavy heart and watery eyes, I walked by. I imagine he fielded a fair amount of rejection and resistance from people uninterested in buying chocolate or supporting his after-school program. He was only eight years old, left to do this all alone.

Four years later, I hope Daniel is well. I don't know where his parents are or why he needed to be kept off the streets. Would he have been literally living on the streets? Or was he a latch-key kid needing something to do other than spending afternoons and evenings home alone until mom and/or dad showed up? I hope his after-school program was (and maybe is) helpful and valuable.

Most of all  I hope he isn't alone anymore.

3 comments:

  1. Um. This made me tear up. Moments before I walked into a meeting. Dang you're a good writer girl!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Um. This made me tear up. Moments before I walked into a meeting. Dang you're a good writer girl!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're too kind. (And sorry about the pre-meeting tears!)

    ReplyDelete

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