Today I digress from pedagogical educational discussions, as I move over toward the social and emotional fabric of our society. There is a new initiative via the public schools in Illinois to focus on the social, emotional, and developmental needs of our kids today. As a teacher and a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to not only be a humanitarian, but to set an example for those around me, especially children. Our actions speak much louder than words, both inside and outside of the home. However, it is important to teach your kids to be cautious of strangers who pretend they need help (but that is another blog post).
With that said, this weekend my daughter and I were in Target doing our usual "get ready for the week" shopping. The store was crowded as everyone was stocking up on deals and filling their carts with food.
Reading the label of the newest Greek yogurt, I was in my own world adding up teaspoons of sugar in my head. I put the yogurt back on the shelf and told my daughter to get rid of the Edy's ice cream that she tried sneaking in the cart. As we were moving down the oh-so-exciting dairy aisle, I noticed an older man in an electric shopping cart, smack in the middle of the aisle. If you have not seen one of these electric carts, imagine a little shopping truck. They are wide, loud and can take up most of the shopping aisle.
He wasn't moving. He was looking around as if he needed help. Everyone was either giving him dirty looks or trying to squeeze past him. One woman even looked at him and said: "Don't worry, you're not in my way."
He looked scared, shaken and helpless as everyone zipped by him.
As I watched for a few minutes, I realized he was in trouble. At the same time, another woman realized he needed help as well. We both approached him. His cart was stuck and he could not walk. I cannot imagine how long he was sitting there. He told us that his bus was coming to pick him up and he would not be in front of the store in time. As moms, we both went into "urgent" mode.
I told her I would stay with him while she went to get a Target employee. She came back and we stood there waiting for help, trying to move him out of the way. We couldn't move him, as the electric cart was too heavy. I am not sure how long it took for someone to finally come and help him from the store, but it was quite a while. Every person in the store who walked by just stared at us trying to move him. Every person walked away. Not one person stopped, not one.
At this point, I thought John Quinones was going to come out of the Orange Juice stocking refrigerators. I peeked through the cold glass windows..no cameras..no crew...no John Quinones...
Someone finally came and helped the nice man. I finished my shopping and walked out of the store in disbelief. Human kindness and decency for one another cannot be underestimated.
What would you do?
Filed under: Motivation