38: Crossing the Gap

38: Crossing the Gap

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of Kindness

Crossing the Gap

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

~James Matthew Barrie

It’s 8:30 a.m., traffic at full-flow. For ten minutes I watch an elderly lady looking anxiously at the traffic, waiting to cross a four-lane priority road. She looks fragile and delicate; porcelain hands grasp each other tight to her chest. Her wide blue eyes scan for a break; there is a glint of fear in them. Her age-cracked mouth is closed firm, but the edges tremble.

A scruffy boy of ten appears next to her and says a few words in her ear. She smiles with surprise and nods with a wink. They are strangers to each other, but the trust in each is obvious.

The boy turns to the traffic holding the lady’s hand and I note his little smile… he’s helping.

The traffic thins… a break appears. Both say “now!” and step out, leading each other.

The old lady looks around, determined to protect her young charge. The boy clutches her hand, leading the old lady gently and safely. As they ascend the sidewalk on the other side their relief is evident.

The old lady safely guided the boy to the other side, pretending to let him help. The young boy safely got the woman across, pretending to let her help.

The two turn to each other and shake hands.

I watch with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, and I don’t know why that is so… for I am smiling.

~Michael John Kildare

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