Monday Dare: Shark Bait

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Practice Random Acts of Kindness. (this week’s Monday Dare was a reader suggestion by Karin in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thanks, Karin!)

A grandma once saved me from a possible pedophile. Not MY grandma, but someone else’s grandma.

The summer before my senior year in high school, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in Boston. They lived in Japan but were spending two years in Boston because my uncle was a visiting professor at one of the business schools.

On my third day, I decided I needed to venture out on my own. My relatives, assuming I had two brains cells to call my own, warned me not to talk to strangers, tucked a banana and apple into my messenger bag, and told me to be home before it got dark.

Sure, I said, no problem. I can take care of myself.

I ended up in Chinatown in the late afternoon….lost. Each street looked like the next and every time I looked up, I was either facing another Chinese sign I couldn’t read or another street sign, which did me no good since I only had the subway map and not the map of the actual city.

As I was standing on a street corner, a man in his mid-30’s approached and asked if I needed help.

Because I had a lot of street smarts, I told him everything. I told him my name, the fact that I was only visiting the city and that I needed to get home in a a few hours but, until then, nobody would be looking for me.

He offered me a ride. He said he just happened to live close to my aunt and uncle’s home in Cambridge.

“My car is right over there. Why don’t you get in?”

My response? “Sure, that sounds like a great idea.” I had already spent my last cent on a pair of platform wedges, and I doubted the Mass Transit Authority would take an apple as my subway fare.

Just then, an elderly Chinese woman grabbed my arm and said, “No, you’re not.” I hadn’t noticed her before, but she must have heard enough of the conversation to realize that I was about to get into a stranger’s car.

She pushed the man away, waved her little finger in his face, and dragged me to the entrance of a subway station. She left her grocery cart on the street as she led me down the stairs to the turnstiles. She used her monthly pass to give me access to the other side.

She took my map and counted out the exact stops, mapped out the transfer, and then told me not to talk to anyone else or get off before my designated stop.

As she walked off, she turned one last time and said, “Your parents would be sad if they knew what you were about to do.”

Cal is only a few years younger than I was that summer. I sometimes think about that grandma. Sure, it’s a possibility that nothing could have happened. But, what if?

Granny could have kept on walking, minding her business. But, she didn’t. She took the time to stop and teach me a lesson. Thanks, Granny.

Have you ever been impacted by a stranger’s kindness? Have you been the one to offer a random act of kindness to a stranger?

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