So a weird thing happened today.
I set up, ready to work on the motorcycle this morning. Jack in place, tools lined up, and schedule set. I wanted to have the front wheel off and at the door of the shop the moment they opened to have the new tire mounted and balanced.
The forecast called for rain. The skies were gray but nothing yet. In fact, it looked like the rain had worn itself out overnight and brighter skies lined the western horizon.
Let’s get it done!
I looked up. A small, and I mean small, little girl stared at me from behind my neighbor’s parking stall. She was maybe 3. Shorts, t-shirt, and no shoes. Her dark hair hung in nappy curls on her little Polynesian head.
She stared at me with a confused look, maybe surprised to see me. I had seen her before but usually at a distance with her mother and siblings around her. I think they live in the next building over from my 6-plex.This morning she was alone.
Her eyes began to well up with tears and her lip quivered.
I asked what she was doing out there by herself, and why was she in the roadway. She continued to stare and the tears began to streak down her cheeks.
She seem relieved when I walked to her but never spoke a word to give an answer to any of my questions. She took my hand and led me to walk with her.
Thinking her feet might be cold on the wet asphalt, I offered to pick her up. She accepted and nestled against my neck with large sobs.
I knocked on the apartment I thought her family lived. Their car was gone and no one answered. At 7:30 on a Saturday morning, I dared not randomly knocking on other doors.
Not knowing what else to do, and thinking she might be cold, I took her home.
After a short period of time, I got her to stop crying but she clung to me like I was her only chance at safety. Ever. She wanted nothing to do with anyone else at my place but me. She did accept an Easter hold-over offer of M&M’s.
At last after maybe 45 minutes of custody, we saw a possible family member, possibly looking for a lost child. Turned out to be her grandmother. The little girl forsook me for her. I wasn’t insulted but missed her immediately.
I waved and she waved back as she was toted off to her home and greeted by her siblings who stared at me like I had taken her. Hopefully they eventually heard the real story.
I went back to work on the bike and showed up late at the shop. It didn’t matter, they got the wheel right in and done.
The bike works again. The little girl got home. And I feel a lot better about the day. More than expected going into it.
It’s OK to disrupt a schedule to help someone else. And I felt special that she took to me and I provided her safety when she knew not what to do. Is there anything better than doing something for someone that can never repay you?
But thinking back on today and writing about it. I guess I did get repaid.
I was a dad again for 45 minutes.