It’s raining. You have dropped the kids at school, and you are hurrying home in the car. There are dishes in the sink; maybe you need to pop to the grocery store. A million chores are running through your head and the rain is really coming down.
As you drive towards the bus stop you see a teen, head down, school bag on, clearly late and running for the bus that is just ahead of you. Within a few seconds, you see the bus pull away just before they get there and the teenager stop running and slump. Here’s the question, do you stop and offer to help?
You only really have a split second to make the decision.
Pouring rain, a total stranger, a teen clearly in need of a lifeline.
Every mum sense in you is saying to stop right? There is a child in distress; you should help.
Now reverse it. Your child left for school and missed the bus. They call you and they say, it’s ok mum. Someone stopped and gave me a ride. Are you relieved they are in a car with someone or are you terrified?
Is it safe to stop for the kid?
I want to tell you that is ok, the world is, after all, statistically safer than it has ever been. We can help one another; we can collect an injured child up on the street and help. We can stop for the teen who missed the bus; we can offer a phone or a ride without second guessing ourselves. But if I am totally honest with you, I’m not really sure it is ok anymore?
I actually asked my own teen if he would get in the car, he said no. He would walk in the rain.
This makes me equal parts sad, that our world has narrowed to become so untrusting, and relieved that he would walk on because I too have become untrusting
Would the worry of being untrusted compel you not to stop? So many questions and scenarios we need to ask ourselves in that split second of time.
I wish, in the space of this short article I could answer these questions for you and me. I wish I could not worry every time my teenager goes out alone. He gets so mad at me and I have to explain that I have faith in him, I just don’t have it in anyone around him.
I don’t know how we got here. I don’t think we have lost our decency; I think we are all good people and that we want to help each other. I badly want to let that poor kid out there in the pouring rain into my car and show them that there are good people. I want to take them to school so they won’t be late, let them dry off in the heating on the way. But I won’t.
I will drive on because I’m scared of other people’s reactions and that decision will bother me for the rest of the day.