Earlier this week, my son and I attended an activity at our local Chick Fil A. As we were leaving, a kind man saw us coming and held the door open. We thanked him, and as we started walking away, I tried to turn the moment into a teaching opportunity.
“Son, do you know what that man is?”
“A GENTLEMAN? LIKE ME?”
“Yup, he’s a gentleman! Like you and Daddy! How do we know that he is a gentleman?”
“Because he holded the door and …” His sentence was never finished. He suddenly stumbled and, with his hands full, was unable to steady himself. WHAP! He landed on the pavement and instantly began to sob.
I had a cup, a purse, and a bag in my arms. I hurried to put my things down, but before I could get my hands free, someone rushed over and picked him off of the ground. Grateful, I looked up and noticed that it was a police officer. He helped my sobbing little man get back onto his feet and comforted him. Noticing his crushed water cup on the ground, he asked what he had been drinking, dashed inside, and quickly came out with a new glass of water – and a badge-shaped sticker. He handed both to my son.
“This,” he solemnly explained, “Is because you are VERY brave. And also because you’re a gentleman.” He gave me a knowing smile and left.
As my (no longer crying) son and I walked away, I was overwhelmed by gratitude for the good people who we come across every day. The kind who open doors, and the kind who take a moment to comfort a crying child. The kind who dedicate their life to defending the public and would lay down their life for me, a stranger. Everyday heroes whose eyes are always open for opportunities to serve and bless others.
I will likely never see either of those men again, but they have left an impact on me – and on my son. Those men each reinforced the lessons on kindness and service that we’ve been teaching at home. And although I felt bad that my son was hurt, I’m still grateful for the experiences of that day. His skinned knee has already healed – no real damage was done. But the lessons he learned that day will stay with him. They are helping me raise a little gentleman.
Let’s be like those men. Let’s keep our eyes open for people who need us to pick them up – literally or figuratively. Let’s make the world just a tiny bit brighter today.