My first mistake was telling Little Man he could ride his tricycle to the market. An unseasonably warm day made me unusually optimistic on how much I could carry with a kindergartener and a tricycle in tow. Lesson learned.
A box in one arm, several days’ veggies and fruit in a bag on the other with the tricycle slung over my shoulder, Little Man and I started crossing the road to start the trek home. He was holding the hem of my jacket as we stepped off the curb. I am not really sure what happened next. It all went so fast and slow at the same time. We had plenty of time to cross the road in front of the white car that suddenly seemed to be barreling down on us when Little Man’s leg came off. Velocity taking over, his body kept going and he landed hard on the pavement near the other side of the road.
You know those moments? The moments when you are standing in the road deciding if you should let the car run over your son’s leg or scoop him up and comfort him — all the while trying to untangle yourself from a bag of broccoli, apples and tomatoes. AND while doing all this, you are thinking in the back of your mind….”Wow, I guess his leg really isn’t fitting that great these days!” See what I mean? Never in my life did I think there would be such a moment. I chose wiping tears and checking for broken bones and blood. Little Man was not happy with that choice, and he began screaming even louder that his leg was about to be road kill.
In enters a stranger.
Just a little cultural context. It is not common to help strangers. Friends and family, absolutely. Strangers, no. It is culturally common to stop and watch, but not to help. Let’s just say, in all of my years living in Asia I have been stared at A LOT more than I have been helped.
Wednesday was different.
A man stepped out into the road, rescued Little Man’s leg, retrieved the roll away tricycle and was at my side helping me steady a weeping boy. He held a little hand while I checked for wounds (there were none) and slid an intact prosthetic leg back in place. When I finally had enough wits to look up at the man, I said. “You are a very nice man.” His reply was with typical Asian modesty, “No, not at all.”
And he walked away.
We made it back home with a story to tell over dinner. All of the kids marveled at the nice man who stopped to help. “I want to be a nice Chinese man like that.” Little Man exclaimed. It truly is amazing how a few moments of help can make a deep impression on those around us. It reminds me of a statement our pastor in Michigan used to say often, “Small things done with great love make a big difference.” Okay, rescuing a prosthetic leg from being run over by a car actually was kinda a big thing. But, the few minutes he took to help us…well that was a small moment from his life and I am very thankful. It made a big difference to us.
I want to be that type of person…willing to stop for a moment and help. We can make grand plans on how to live out our faith and how to love those around us, but if we aren’t able to slow down and embrace the unexpected moments – well, it is worthless. I am striving to live a life of service that will encourage those around me and I am so thankful when the blessing is turned my way.