Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take Their Hand

A street in Pittsburgh, PA
(just a block away from where this post took place)

Traffic was backing up on 6th Street. Four yellow school buses hugged the curb; a Port Authority bus squeezed between one of them and my suddenly Matchbox car-sized Chevy HHR.

The light turned green. We sat still.

Spilling out from every direction were the children - appearing in doorways, from the buses, from cars. All of a sudden they were everywhere and headed for Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. They were being counted by adults, repeatedly; their small hands clasping each other's, a white hand holding a black hand. I wondered if anyone else on their way to work, on their way to a meeting like I was, on their way to ... where? noticed that.

A motorcycle zoomed up beside me, lights flashing. I thought of my out of state license plate, an easy target, hoping I didn't make any stupid traffic mistakes here in this city I'm still figuring out (although, when I do make a mistake on the road, I've found Pittsburgh drivers to be much nicer than those, say, in Philly. The other day, after I inadvertently ran a stop sign at the wild speed of 5 mph in a (different) traffic jam, a woman rolled down her window and politely as hell said, "Stop sign there, lady.")  Northeast Philly, this ain't.

The police officer got off his motorcycle and joined two other members of the law in the middle of the intersection that I and several other drivers were waiting to cross. We were to wait.

And we did.

They were helping the children cross the street, at the end of the rush hour in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Nobody leaned on their horn. Nobody got out of their car and yelled that they were going to be late for an important meeting that would be forgotten by noon. We just ... waited.

I don't know why this sight entranced me so, but it did. I wished I had my camera. I couldn't take my eyes off these kids crossing the street, heading towards what I imagined to be a performance of some kind, maybe a symphony. I just kept thinking what a different world this would be if we all could all show a little more caring and compassion toward children a little more often. Towards everyone, really. But especially the kids.

I thought about several of my friends who are dealing with issues with their kids caused by others - be it bullying on the bus or injustice at the hands of a crazy court system or ... whatever. You know what your issues are and who you are.

What a much better world this would be if more people just stopped.

Took a child's hand.

Made sure they got across the street.

It's really such a simple thing to do, isn't it?

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

1 comment:

Lisa Gradess Weinstein said...

This is a really sweet and poignant post Melissa. It also reminds of something that happened many, many years ago driving to work on Street Road in Southampton. This was even before ACS that's how long ago. I was driving along and all of the sudden traffic came to a complete halt in both directions. There were about 2 cars in front of me so I could lean out my window and see what was going on. Seems a family of ducks, a mommy followed by five or six babies, had decided to cross the road during morning rush hour. And the people in their cars stopped, let the ducks pass, and got a good chuckle out of it. I looked at the people in the other cars and everyone was laughing - seems a family of ducks brought everyone out of their morning trance!!1 (Hmmmm, I'm sensing a blog post of my own here!)