Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spare change.

I can't wait till I get back to Hong Kong to share this.

This evening, on our way home from dinner at KLCC (where the Petronas Twin Towers are located), something truly amazing happened.  Joey and I and our three kids came home via train (ahead of my parents who stayed to pick up some groceries), and were getting out of the station across from my parent's condo.  It was our second trip into KLCC for the day - the first trip was earlier in the afternoon to take a tour of the Skybridge that connects the towers.  This means a total of four train rides for the day.

Sitting outside the Setiawangsa station was a woman.  She had what looked like medication spread out on a piece of newspaper next to her, and a bag with what few possessions she owned.  Earlier in the day, we'd seen her eating a small portion of rice.  She'd not moved at all, and each of the four times we walked by her today, she sat there.  There was no visible disability that I could notice, though I'm not sure if she was perhaps blind, or if there was some other reason that she was sitting there.  Those details are inconsequential.  All that matters is she was in need.  As we walked by her for the last time tonight, she held out a blue plastic cup with one hand, and with her other hand, she made a sign for eat.

Earlier in the evening, on our way to dinner, just outside the restaurant, Buddy clapped his eyes on a batmobile ride (you know the kind where you drop in some coins and the car, animal, boat, etc moves back and forth for about 40 seconds.  The total cost of that ride: 1 ringgit.  We gave him our change from dinner, but discovered that he was 20 sen short.  A little disappointed, he cheered up when I told him I'd bring him back and he should save up the rest.  Needless to say, by the time we got to the KLCC station, he'd collected more than enough from the change after we'd purchased our return tickets.

Rattling the change in his pocket all the way home, he carefully counted it and was excited that he'd saved enough for the ride.  We walked by the woman outside the station, Joey and a sleeping Ella just ahead, me and a sleeping Cally in my arms not far behind.  We walked up about five stairs of the walkover to cross the street when Buddy turned to me.  Mummy, I have enough money for my ride and I have 20 extra cents.  Can I go back and put it in that woman's cup?

It had been a long day of cranky children.  Joey was at the end of his rope with Buddy who kept asking for things like legos, cookies, basically everthing he saw.  Two kids were already asleep.  It was sticky and hot.  My feet hurt.  We were so close to home.  But none of this came into my head.  I gave it no thought.  I called up to Joey to keep going and told him that Buddy, Cally and I would catch up.

Of course,  I responded to Michael.  We walked back.  I let him go up to her while I lingered close enough behind to supervise and encourage, but far enough to allow him this independence.  He ran back to me, excited by his action, eager to tell me what he noticed about her hunger and full of questions I couldn't really answer.

And I felt my heart full of pride and wonder at this small boy of mine.  Completely independent.  Thinking such compassionate thoughts and totally aware of those around him who don't have as much and kind enough at the age of 7 to act on them.

There is only so much a parent can do to foster and encourage a child's character.  I cannot claim responsibility for this one.  He's this wonderful all on his own.


emily said...

i couldn't agree more. he's WONDERFUL.

thank you for not waiting to share this bit.


B said...

oh my goodness, how amazing. He's such a love. what a proud moment for both of you :)

xo- B

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