Birmingham, Alabama—the mall. Two kids. They were lost. Brother and sister. Black hair. Dark eyes. Mexican.
Keith found them. They were wandering, holding hands. They wore concerned looks. He sensed something was wrong.
“I got four kids,” says Keith. “I have a feel for these things.”
He approached them. He kept his voice cheery. He asked if they were lost. They couldn’t understand him.
No problema. Keith almost majored in college Spanish.
“Are you lost?” He asked in Spanish.
As it happened, they’d lost their father. They’d been hiding from him in the department store. They were only playing a joke, it was supposed to be a game. It became a disaster.
They were too scared to ask for help because their father wasn’t legal.
Keith promised he wouldn’t alert authorities. Instead, he searched the mall.
No luck. So, he bought the kids supper. Then he gave them a ride. The little girl rode in the front seat, guiding him through traffic by memory.
Turn here, turn there, take a right at the light.
She led him straight to her aunt’s apartment. Her mother and aunt came running. Tears were shed.
Lots of tears.
Charleston, West Virginia—Amy rode her bike to the school-bus stop. She was minding her business like a good eleven-year-old.
A boy was dropped there by his father. He was new to the neighborhood.
The boy had an asthma attack. His inhaler was empty. His face went pale. Amy kept calm—though, I don’t know how.
She helped the boy onto her bicycle seat. She jumped on her pedals hard.
“Hold tight!” she said.
He wrapped his arms around her while she sped to his house—a half-mile away.
Nobody was home. He couldn’t find his key. She broke a window. She gave him a breathing treatment. It worked.
They still made the bus in time.
Knoxville, Tennessee—Billy was shopping with his wife. Actually, he was people-watching, she was shopping.
He saw a woman in the parking lot. She was old, dressed in rags. She carried a plastic grocery basket with a gray cat in it.
He gave her a few bucks. She thanked him and said, “Now my cat can eat. Been a day since he ate last.”
Billy asked how many days it had been since she’d eaten.
“Three,” she said.
“It’s so cold,” said Billy. “Why don’t you go to a shelter?”
Homeless people have their reasons.
So, Billy called his friends. They compiled things from their own closets. They brought winter coats, mittens, hats, boots, blankets, and even a jogging stroller.
“What’s the stroller for?” she asked.
It was to carry the metric ton of food they’d given her.
I was in a hotel room last night. I turned on the television and heard reporters say the world was falling apart.
That’s not all I saw. I saw crazed talk-show hosts, sex scandals, pharmaceutical commercials, and snow in Florida—as I live and breathe.
A TV-scientist said the earth was freezing over. A TV-preacher claimed that mankind is going to be deep fried in peanut oil.
Shocking headlines abound:
Malnourished teenager’s parents imprison and torture her. A middle-aged man murders his young son. Terrorism. Explosions. Protests. Molotov cocktails. War. Dancing with the Stars.
Yeah. I know. They say we are going down the pipe. They say we are millimeters from hellfire.
But to anyone who wonders if there is anything beautiful left in this universe, to anyone who wants to know if kindness, charity, and nice people exist, I believe the answer is:
But you won’t find it on TV.