Pensacola, Florida—a bunch of children played kickball against the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department.
These kids are undergoing cancer treatment, but it hasn’t affected their spirit.
A little boy steps to the plate and kicks a rubber ball with every ounce of leg muscle he has. The crowd goes wild. His mom goes wild. I go wild.
Earlier, I spoke to a parent who remarked: “This has been the hardest time of our lives. I wish I could take it from my son, I wish it was me who had cancer, but it feels good to see him happy today.”
Today is a good day. And it was a good game. The score was close.
The Sheriff’s department only lost by 39,000 points.
Huntsville, Alabama—Aria was 26. A hardworking mother trying to earn her GED. She had a full-time job to tie down, two kids, and suppers don’t make themselves.
Her homework load was overwhelming. Solving for “X” wasn’t exactly a priority.
She posted a request for help online. A college professor in West Virginia answered her. He volunteered to help.
He tutored her over the phone. Sometimes, they would stay on the phone for three hours at a time. Their friendship took off.
The weekend before her test, he bought a plane ticket. He met her at a coffee shop with flowers.
They spent two days prepping for her exam. She passed; he took her out to dinner. Today, she’s working on her bachelor’s degree.
They have two kids together.
Spartanburg, South Carolina—a man stopped four lanes of traffic to save a dog. Traffic backed up for a quarter mile.
He squatted onto his heels and spoke in a soft voice. Cars lined up, stretching toward the horizon.
The dog finally came.
He used his belt for a leash. The dog was old. No tags. He lifted the dog into his car. He named the old dog “Earl.”
He let Earl sleep beside his bed until the end.
Macon, Georgia—she was eighty-four, in poor health, and stuck in a nursing home. She dipped snuff.
A workman visited her room one day. He was there to install cable television. They talked. They made friends.
She complained a little.
“I’m out of snuff,” she said. “They won’t let me go to the store and buy none, ‘cause it’s a bad habit.”
He visited her again the next day. He brought a shopping bag with enough snuff to last until the Second Coming.
He visited her the day after, too. And the day after. Soon, he was stopping in almost every day after work.
He sang “Amazing Grace” at her graveside service.
Anyway, right now I am in a busy hotel lobby. There are several businessmen sitting around me—laptops on knees.
There’s a television blaring. A news anchor on the screen speaks in a tone laced with enough anxiety to spike your blood pressure.
The images on TV are terrifying. Explosions, shootings, stabbings, robberies, Ryan Seacrest.
But something’s wrong.
I didn’t see any stories about folks adopting foster children. No stories about recovering alcoholics who help others get sober.
I must’ve missed the news report on the ninety-nine-year-old minister who worked in a country church until he died.
No stories about men saving elderly dogs from interstates. No mention of teachers, nurses, single mothers, single fathers, firemen, math tutors, or cable guys with big hearts.
And I suppose there weren’t many journalists who felt like covering a kickball game between sick children and deputies who care about them. Some journalists have more important things to be doing, I guess.
It’s too bad.
Because these kids are the most important things I’ve ever seen.