Enter Monday: afro maintenance, pen pondering, & ignorant attitudes

Dropped my kids of at camp this morning...it was a nice morning.

A few outbreaks from my big son- I didn't do his hair right?

I told him he was nine and his afro maintenance would need to be assumed by him if he was still unhappy with the work from the help.

I dropped them off at music camp...they are in for a week of steel pan, drumming, singing, guitar and a whole bunch of other goodness.

I'm thankful for committed organizations and churches in our community that offer accessible programs like this.

On my way home back down the street about to enjoy a day off of work, I pulled into the No Frills.

It is relatively empty on a Monday at 8:30 a.m.

I got a glimpse of the line- there would be no wait.  An older lady with a few things and a guy about my age with backpack and probably something he was holding in his hands in front of him because there wasn't a thing on the belt.

When I got closer I looked him in his face and I thought man this kid is BIG...he couldn't be more than 15 and out this early in the morning in the summer- good man!

She said to the him, are these yours eggs? (it was my stuff pulling up the belt ahead of him) He politely interrupted.  No, I don't have anything, but the pen that you lent me doesn't work. Do you think I could borrow another one?

He started to talk and his voice was soft and polite. Not a whisper just really calm and collected.  Not afraid of eye contact at all - you could tell he was just really young.

There was a pen in front of her cash register...she started shuffling through papers looking for another one?

I only have this other one I lose too many pens...my eyes probably went into a little bit of a squint mode because I noticed on the belt one lane over he had an application for employment that he was filling out.

This is what good kids do.

She called over to her supervisor who was making herself look busy between lanes..."Do you have a pen?  I don't want to give him this one, I lose too many."

I thought to myself..."but you'd lend him a broken one?"

The kid was standing...we were all standing within about 1.5 meter radius...without looking at the boy she says to her co-worker..."tell him to bring it back tomorrow!"

Because of the confrontations I experienced less then an hour earlier with a child a little more than half his age and some reasoning in my heart to pick my battles I made the decision not to verbally say a word.

Unfortunately my face doesn't lie ever.

So I kind of looked down until their pen pondering ended.

The same polite voice stated again..."OK, Thank you!" and he turned around squeezed past me and went to collect his paper.

My face was nothing but blank I'm sure as I stared at the cashier.

She asked me if I wanted a bag- I mostly couldn't answer. (We are usually good for at least a little small talk...she knows she was ignorant.)

While she was ringing in my stuff I turned my back to her and I got the attention of the kid looking for work.

"Excuse me? You need a pen to fill out your job application?"

He put an innocent smile on his face like God had answered his prayer- he seemed totally oblivious to the way he was just treated.


"Just wait a few minutes, walk out to my car with me I have a few pens I can give you."

He smiled.

We walked out to the car.

"You looking for work?"

"Yes, with groceries."

"You don't wanna work with kids?"

"No, groceries."

"You sure? Cause I can try to call around and see if we can find you something at a camp or something?"

"No, just groceries."

I started telling him a bit about some places in the area that may be able to help him out with finding work.

I gave him the disclaimer that I wasn't too much of a weirdo, I was married and possessed a bag full of children.

He said that he could tell I wasn't that strange.

I said to him.  I wasn't trying to be nosey but when people do stuff like that to you...He looked at me like "I kinda know!"  I didn't say much else I just said "don't let them!"

I reached into my pocket and gave him all the money I had.

Disclaimer #2 "I know you're not homeless or anything just take this use it for bus fare to go to a few more places."  He was hesitant but said thanks and went back into the grocery store to fill out the application?

He is clearly a "bigger man" than I will ever be.  (You, know what I mean!)

I gave him the pen and drove back home...I pulled into the underground of my building about three minutes away and my insides were raging.  I reversed out of my spot and sat outside of No Frills...looked in the window and he was still there working on that application.

He walked out and I honked him...gave him the non-weirdo disclaimer again and offered him our phone number and told him I would see what I could find for him.

I also got his number so if you're hiring a student this summer...I know a guy.


1 comment:

  1. you are amazing Chris. He might never call but I bet you made a huge difference in that kid's life. Really.