Thirty years ago, my family moved to Gainesville, Florida, for a year while my dad completed another requirement in school. Now, at six years old, I was a little sensitive to being uprooted - I enjoyed traveling, but being away from all of my friends and the familiarity of our home completely shook me. Furthermore - the differences culturally between central Alberta and a southern state was something that added to my discomfort, without me consciously understanding it as such.
So it was, that for the first few weeks of school, I would often just sit and sob for the entire school day. I feel badly for my teacher (Mrs. Helpling - if you're out there I'm sorry about this) - it couldn't have been easy to deal with... but I have absolutely no recollection of her ever losing her temper.
Now, on one day in particular (and the reason for this post), I actually hit a point of such complete misery (for a six year old, anyway), that I didn't even make it to school. I stopped on a bridge (I still remember this quite clearly) and sat on my bike bawling. I also remember a car pulling up, and a man getting out and starting to walk towards the corner store, doing a sort of double-take as he went in. On his way out - he saw I was still sitting there; he dropped his purchases in his car and walked over to me. "What's wrong, buddy?" he asked. I just cried. I don't even know if I was coherent.
"Do you live around here?" he asked. I was able to nod. "Okay - let's get you home. Why don't you show me where you live...". To which, against all previous instructions and warnings... I did.
Well, as badly as this story could have turned out, it didn't. I walked my bike, crying all the way, and he escorted me back home. My mom virtually jumped out of her skin when she saw me walk up with a stranger, but he just said "Hi - your son was crying on the bridge, and I thought I should get him home before something bad happened...". There was a flurry after this - my mom called the school, who got me an appointment with the counselor, who reiterated what a knuckle-headed idea it was to go anywhere with strangers, and how lucky I was to have met one of the nice people, and not one of the bad ones. And this brings me to the point of this post.
In all of the rush and confusion of my bad choice, my emotional state, making sure I learned my lesson from all of this - I don't know if the guy who got me home safe was ever thanked. He certainly wasn't by me...
So I'd like to do my best to rectify it. I don't know who he was, and realize the likelyhood of him reading this is pretty remote - but hey, less-likely things have happened. On the off-chance he is reading, or someone who knows him is - I would like to take this chance to thank him. For getting me home safe, for getting to me before someone who might have wanted to do me harm...
Basically, for being one of the good guys. Thank you.