We arrived at the hotel without a single story to tell. Hallelujah!
I waited in the lobby, just off the registration desk, while Joe got a porter and the two of them moved the luggage from the car to the room. I knew if I got into the room, I'd be in it for the night. Instead I waited because I really did want to go to the bar and get a cup of tea. A few feet from me were a bunch of couches set up for people to lounge about in. They were taken up by a family with three children, a boy of 10, a girl maybe 8, and a little one - a boy of about 2. The girl was dressed up as a witch, neither boy was in costume.
They were laughing and having fun, I like the sound of kids having fun so it doesn't disturb me in the way it obviously was disturbing others waiting at the desk for various bits of assistance. I noticed the oldest boy most because he was running all over the lobby, his sister occasionally half heartedly chased him. At one point I saw him take out a camera and shoot a picture. He was up a small set of stairs and he looked at the picture and laughed. He called his sister over and she looked at the picture, giggled and then looked straight at me. Way to announce that you've just taken a candid photograph of a fat guy in a wheelchair.
Father, suspicious at their sudden silence and consipiratorial manner, surprised them and took the camera, he looked at the picture and then harshly at his son. 'What on earth do you think you are doing?' Father glanced at me, saw that I knew what was going on, grabbed his son's arm and marched him over to me. 'I hope you won't mind telling my son how it makes you feel when people point you out or make fun of you.'
A thousand thoughts went through my head. I really didn't want to take the responsibility to parent this kid - even though I judge parenting everytime I'm out, people without kids are the best parents. I took a breath and looked this handsome little boy in the eye.
'Your father thinks I'm going to tell you how you hurt my feelings. Well, let me tell you, you didn't. You don't have that kind of power over me. What you think of me doesn't matter one little bit to me. What you've got to worry about is what I think of you. You see the moment you took that picture to make fun of me, I put you in the category of 'person not worth knowing'. I expect less from you than I did before. You know when I saw you playing with your sister and your brother, I thought 'What a great kid.' Now, I just think you a a mean spirited person not worth knowing or bothering about. Here's something else, everyone else who saw you do that, thought the same. You became less in their minds. You knew it was wrong before your father came and took the camera from you, now you expect less of yourself.'
His eyes started to fill with tears, he began to apologize. I wasn't in the mood, 'I said, the best apology is change. Just don't do it again. Instead of making fun of someone else, discover sources of fun within yourself. Your life will be richer.'
Father led him away. I call out, 'Erase the picture will you?' Father nodded but didn't turn back. There was sudden quiet from that corner of the hotel.
Joe came back and saw the aura and said, 'Oh, no, we didn't make the day did we?'
'Yes, we did,' I said.