Atlanta, Georgia—once, I took my friend to the ER after he broke his ankle running a 5K. The young man in the hospital room beside us was suffering from a gunshot.
His mother sat with him. She was small, gray-headed. She did not cry, nor raise her voice. She whispered while nurses and police officers hurried around him.
He kept mumbling, “I’m sorry, Mama.”
She gave one long, “Ssssssshhhhhh,” then said, “You’re my baby boy.”
When they wheeled him to surgery, she lost it. Nurses could barely hold her up. I’ve never seen a woman scream like that.
Panama City, Florida—I saw a truck crash into a neighborhood telephone pole. It happened during broad daylight.
A police officer lived a few houses away from the accident. He heard the loud sound. There were sparks. Buzzing. The power went out.
The deputy tore out the front door, jogging barefoot. He pulled the dazed kid from the truck and held him. A crowd of neighbors gathered.
The deputy cradled the boy, saying, “It’s alright, son.”
Mobile, Alabama—I watched a toddler have a meltdown in the supermarket. He sat on the floor wailing. His mother tried to console him.
An elderly woman calmed the boy. She used a Snicker’s as her weapon of choice.
The mother said, “We adopted him a week ago. He’s our first, and I don’t think he likes us.” She started sobbing.
The older lady wrote her number on the back of a card and said, “I’ve raised two boys. You’re gonna be fine. Call me.”
I hope she did.
Pensacola, Florida—Boy Scouts held a car wash on the side of the road. My wife and I pulled over. She let them give our vehicle the once-over for fifteen bucks.
I asked why they were raising money.
“Because,” one boy said. “My mom has breast cancer. She’s not doing good.”
When they finished, my wife paid them for two more cleanings.
I left the tip.
Right now, I can’t sleep. I’m writing this because the world’s gone haywire. All you have to do is peek outside to see. Or flip on the television. Hate is for sale, and it’s flying off the shelves.
It’s too bad. Because this world’s a lot damned bigger than a TV screen. And since you’ve read this far, I’ve got something I want to say:
If you’re an off-duty deputy with a big heart, a mother who doesn’t know what she’s doing, an abandoned child, a newlywed, a dog lover, cat lover, a Boy Scout with a sick mother, a gray-haired mama with the strength of ten thousand angels.
Or a human being.
God bless you.