On my drive to and from work I pass a river that runs through a park. Swans and geese dot the shore, while fishermen, hikers, and the occasional ultimate frisbeer scamper through the long grasses. It’s also a common hangout for cops, so I’m always careful to drive close to the speed limit.
Yesterday on my way back from lunch, I followed the meandering road, happy that the sun had finally come out and melted the last of the snow, when movement at the edge of the drop-off leading to the river caught my eye. Three boys no older than nine or ten held up their hands, waving for me to stop. Two held fishing poles, and from the flush of their cheeks it seemed they’d been outside most of the morning.
A million thoughts zipped through my mind as I slowed to a stop.
Is someone hurt?
What if their friend fell in the lake and is drowning?
Can I pull a boy from freezing water?
I’d jump in, right?
Or is someone else around that could help me?
What if it’s a trap?
They’re small, but there’s three of them, and there could be another hiding in the bushes.*
I pressed the button to roll down the window and leaned forward as one of the boys approached the car.
Is that fear in his eyes? Panic? Or something more sinister?
He cleared his throat and said, “Do you know what time it is?”
I paused for a heartbeat, then glanced at the clock on the dashboard. “One o’clock.”
He hollered thanks and ran back to his friends.
I felt a little silly for letting my imagination go into overdrive, but I’m glad I stopped. We hear about people not following their instincts, only to find out later that they could have helped someone, or prevented something awful from happening. Who knows, maybe I saved them from a wicked grounding.
Have you offered help when it would have been easier to continue on your way?
*(Yes, it was the middle of the day but three years of Mexico will do that to you)