An Extended Little Hand

by Greg Bland
Queensland, Australia

An Extended Little Hand

My daughter is a single mum bringing up two daughters, 6 and 3 years old. She is on limited money, aware it only stretches so far, so she economizes, yet is aware her children need to be trained to be caring. So for a treat, she decided on a trip to the movie theatre to see “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”.

She bundled the little one into the stroller and all three headed out the two kilometres to the shopping mall where the movie theatre is. Of course, when going to the movies lollies and drinks are the order of the day, so she stopped at the store for that purchase.

Next, she gave the children balloons each. As they continued on toward the movie theatre, the younger one was loudly singing the song, “Yes, Jesus loves me.” My daughter saw a fairly old grey-haired bloke slowly shuffling along toward them.

The next thing she knew, the old bloke had turned and was making his way straight to them. My daughter was a little concerned, so she stopped. All the while her 3-year-old, Ellie, was still singing.

The old bloke shuffled up to them, bent down and addressed Ellie in a kindly voice saying, “That’s a pretty balloon you have there, may I have it?” Ellie looked him straight in the eye and with an accepting smiling voice replied “Yes”, and handed the balloon to him.

A look of surprise and shock passed over the old bloke’s face, as he reached for the balloon offered in an extended little hand. He thanked her gracefully and smiled broadly. Ellie’s response surprised my daughter greatly.

Three-year-old Ellie began to sing again but changed the lyrics slightly, to “Yes, Jesus loves you.” Still smiling, the old bloke handed the balloon back, and said, “Thank you very much for sharing the balloon with me but it is really yours to keep.”

He looked at my daughter and said that it was unusual these days to experience such a kind and polite child. She explained that she was endeavoring to teach her children the value of sharing and respect of elders.

With that, the old bloke turned and continued on his way and my daughter started walking again. Ellie bent forward in the stroller and looked back toward the old bloke as he shuffled away, calling out loudly, “Bye, bye” a number of times and waving.

The old bloke stopped, partly turned and waved back. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as he waved, and when he continued on his way he seemed to stand taller and his shuffling seemed less pronounced.

Originally published as HeroicStories #363 on Dec 5, 2002

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