Over Puddles, Underappreciated

By:  Staci Stallings

In the process of doing ticket sales for our elementary school, one of the fun things I get to do is stand in the drive line in the mornings and help the kids get out of cars.  Now at our school, we have the “safety patrol.”  These are our fifth grade students, who stand out in the drive line in their orange safety vests and help get the kids out of the cars and to the school door.

I happen to be working with three very wonderful kids–two boys and a girl.  Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have come to enjoy working together and teasing one another.  This morning something happened that I think you should hear about.

See, I hear a whole lot of noise in our world about the upcoming generation being “lost” or “unfocused” or “lazy.”  I hear a lot about how people don’t know what this world is coming to, and they are fearful for what comes next when “this bunch” gets to be in charge.  Well, I’ll be frank with you.  I’m not worried.  The kids I work with are polite and helpful.  They will go out of their way to assist you.  They are bright and enthusiastic and kind.

Great example:  The two boys I work with on the drive line.  Don’t get me wrong, the girl is great too.  But I expected that because I know her and know that she is great.  The boys surprised me.

There is one suburban that pulls up every morning and the three of them race to unload it.  Here’s the thing, though, in this van is a set of twins.  The twins are about three years old, and they cry every single day! They are both in carseats with backpacks and lunch boxes.  It is a job to get them out.  Half the time we end up with one or two safety patrol in the van unbuckling and helping the kids out.  In many cases even once they are out, they are crying–not angry, just sad.

And these boys and this girl–the “lost” generation–race to this van to get to help these kids into school.  Often they end up carrying one or both of them, the backpacks and the lunchboxes, going, “It’s okay.  It’s going to be fun.  You’ll see.”

This has always amazed me.

Then this morning they topped even that.  A small sport utility vehicle pulled up and because of where the parent stopped, the child had to navigate a rather large puddle by the curb.  The boys immediately recognized that this would be a problem.  The first one opened the door.  The child, about 4, was having trouble getting out of the carseat, so our hero boy gets in and helps her.  As he went to get out, the other boy came over to help.  First boy hands out the small pink backpack and the lunchbox and mat to second boy.  Then the first boy said, “We have to be careful.  There’s water here.”

He gets out, straddles the water, and lifts the little girl from the back over the water, safely to the curb.  The grateful mom said, “You boys are so sweet to her” even as the second boy was helping her get her backpack on and handing her the lunchbox and saying, “Tell Mom bye.”

“Lost”?  I don’t think so.

If I’m ever in need of a hero, these are the guys I want on my team!

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