Does doing good deeds mean you have to think nice thoughts?
What’s up with people? I’m sorry, but I’m miffed.
I was walking into my health club the other day to squeeze in a quick swim. It was early afternoon so there was more than the normal amount of activity with the lunchtime crowd running out the door while the afternoon regulars trickled in. As I was walking from my car to the building entrance I heard movie-like screaming. Actually it was a panicky-woman’s-voice-shrieking.
“Oh, my god! My god don’t move!”
And, as I started scanning people. But, I couldn’t figure out who was doing the screaming. I saw the delivery guy at the front door with a load of chocolate milk in little cartons. I saw a group of three twenty-something-year-old guys in baggy shorts standing together looking in the same direction. And, then, I realized that the entire crowd of 10 or 20 people was all staring in the same direction—towards a little, tiny girl about the size of a bowling pin, standing on the side of the driveway. All alone. In a pink dress. Teetering on the curb.
The screaming was from her mother who was on the other side of the drive and a good 30 feet away.
As I started to piece the picture together, there were a couple other members of this cast. Two little boys. Presumably her older brothers because all three of them had the whitest, softest hair you could imagine. And, now that I listened to the mother’s accent, I decided they were all Scandinavian. Sans clogs.
“Stay! Don’t move!” the mom cried out. I thought I was watching an outtake from a Spiderman movie. OK, maybe not that dramatic but at 1:16 in the afternoon in my little world, it seemed like it. There wasn’t a fast approaching train, nor was anyone falling off a building. But there was this little girl who appeared to have gotten away from the watchful hand of her mom and her two older brothers.
And no one did anything. Except watch. That’s why I’m miffed. Not the guy delivering chocolate milk. Not the three guys who were about six feet away. No one in the crowd did anything except stand still and watch as if a street show was about to begin.
“I’ll stay with her and hold her hand,” I yelled out to the mom. Truthfully, I’m not sure if the mom heard me but she saw me squat down and take little Cindy Lou Who by the hand. And, then, the mom said something about her car and started running back to it leaving the two boys—who I decided I’d call Hans and Sven—also alone on the curb. I was confused. Whatever the case, I yelled out to Hans and Sven and told them to carefully cross the street and come stand with me.
They obeyed. And suddenly I felt like the street show.
“Hi guys,” I said trying to strike up a calm conversation. “Are you going to swim with your mom?”
“Swimming sucks,” replied Hans, the older one.
So I tried something else having just noticed a slew of American flag stickers all over his face and arms. “Nice stickers,” I said to him.
“They’re not stickers, stupid. They’re tattoos,” he shouted back.
I’m sure “stupid” means “stud” in his native tongue.
I wasn’t liking these kids at that moment. But, trying to be the Good Samaritan, I wasn’t supposed to have those kind of thoughts.
Then mom came back. She was holding her yoga mat. Obviously she must have forgotten it in the car which, somehow, was the root of the entire commotion. She snatched the kids and started to walk to the club, scolding both boys. I thought I’d be next. I guess a “thank you” was too much for me to expect.
We all reached the club together and as I opened the door to let them all in, the two boys push past a couple of older women, causing one of them to drop her bag before the young ones started running down the hall.
“Hans!” screamed the mom. (I was right!)
I decided she was on her own this time. I also decided to skip the swim and sign up for a massage.
A Swedish one at that.