Sometimes we forget what it means to "do the right thing." We think if a situation occurs, if someone needs help, we would help them. But would we really, or would we actually even notice them?
Last week Grant and I were recounting a story of a man who went out of his way in the most simple way to help our family. Something we didn't really think was THAT big a deal at the time, but the more we shared the story with others, and our BE STRONG, PROTECT THE WEAK, LOVE EVERYONE message, people said, "He did that, the man with the wet wash cloth, did that."
Let me backtrack a bit. One of our favorite things our family likes to do is take an evening bike ride. Nothing fancy, sometimes it is around the sidewalk and this night it happened to be in an abandoned parking lot. We let the kids have 10 minutes of "family ride time." Each person was the leader and we all followed their path. We were laughing and cheering each other’s cool moves.
It was all going great, we had about 2 minutes left until we headed back to put the kids to bed. Sis was the leader and you know, she, of course, decided she would pop some curbs with her pink princess bike tires. (because she is her mother’s child).
She usually handles the curbs like a boss, but she turned a little too quickly, and like a yard sale, her bike flew one way, and her knees and elbows flew another. The pavement did a number to her knees and elbows, Holden was behind her and he was afraid he would hit her, so he braked which meant he wrecked as well. Both kids had helmets and both kids just got some good scraps, but you could hear the cries and initial screams from miles away it seemed. Grant comforted Sis, and I held Holden. Holden was more worried he would accidentally run over Sis, and Sis was just screaming because, you know blood. We just held them and let them know it would be ok, like parents do each and every time their kids skin their knees. This wasn't the first and it won't be the last.
After what seemed like FOREVER, I look up and there is a man standing beside us, I don't even know where he came from, but he had two washcloths in his hand, one wet, and one dry. He said, he and his wife were across the street at the hotel, his wife had commented on the "cute family riding their bikes," and then about 10 seconds later they witnessed the crash and crying.
We used the wet washcloth to soothe and wipe up bloody knees and elbows. We thanked him, he went on his way and we went on ours. It was a simple gesture. But when we look back, it was a big gesture, one that no one else did. He saw, he heard, and he acted out of kindness. We may never see that man again, but he did what our shirt's message says. He protected the weak in that small moment. His wet washcloth was a loving act. He had to go inside and wet that washcloth. He had to have thought, I bet those knees need a warm cloth to soothe. It was a simple gesture, probably one that inconvenienced him, but he still did it.
Thank you to the random wet washcloth man. Thanks for living out a message that we hope others will emulate. Us included.