December 22, 2008
Late last week, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping
done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas
season right then. It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was
loading my car up with gifts that I felt obligated to buy. I noticed that I
was missing a receipt that I might need later. So mumbling under my breath,
I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.
As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet
sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years
old. He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged
flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night's chill. Oddly enough, he
was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand. Thinking that he had gotten
lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong.
He told me his sad story. He said that he came from a large family. He had
three brothers and two sisters. His father had died when he was nine years
old. His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made
very little to support her large family. Nevertheless, she had managed to
save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents. The young
boy had been dropped off on the way to her second job. He was to use the
money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take
the bus home.
He had not even entered the mall, when an older boy grabbed one of the
hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.
"Why didn't you scream for help?" I asked. The boy said, "I did." "And
nobody came to help you?" I wondered. The boy stared at the sidewalk and
sadly shook his head. "How loud did you scream?" I inquired. The soft-spoken
boy looked up and meekly whispered, "Help me!"
I realized that absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry
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