We went over to the mall this afternoon after Joe finished his volunteering at the food-bank with the goal of my going on a walk for the second time. We had the walker, the wheelchair, and my will, and that I figured was enough. After the walk, Joe took the walker back to the car and I rolled around the mall. I was picking up speed as I rounded the corner. I knew that I was to meet Joe at the elevator and I didn't want to keep him waiting.
There was a line-up of teenagers waiting to gain access to one of the popular stores there. Two young men, boys really, were standing at the end of the line. One of them said to the other, loud enough for me to hear, "Hey, look at the fat guy in the wheelchair!" Instantly the other replied, "Ah, don't be an asshole for your whole fucking life, eh, he's pushing himself minding his own business and ..." at that point I was out of range and could no longer hear.
I was really buoyed up by the words of the second guy. He had no reason to stand up for me, he didn't know me. Well no reason but standing up for me was the right thing to do. Who knows if he will suffer social consequences for being a kind kid, but if so, I think he will survive. Kindness is always attractive.
At first I thought, what a well brought up young man. And then I thought, wait a minute, I don't want to diminish his actions by crediting other people. His parents may have taught him kindness, but he had to choose to be kind. His parents may have been cruel, and he knew how to actively repel cruelty. I don't know.
But he took action.
Speaking up is hard.
Not having spoken up is harder.
Good on you kid.
Gives you hope for humankind, doesn't it?
All anyone has to do is to look startled and say, "I can't believe you just said that." And the tides are turned.
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