A Child's Innocence restored
I was standing in a long line at a cafe. In front of me stood a mom with her fidgety and clearly bored little boy.
He looked to be 6 or 7 years old. A police car drove by the cafe and suddenly he came to life. "Mom, mom," he said excitedly, "It's the police, we better go outside, they're probably looking for us!". The mom looked mortified, her face red, as she explained to the long line of people waiting for a hot cup of coffee. "My son's bicycle was stolen last night. Someone took it from the front porch, cut the lock and carried it away. When we realized it had been stolen we called the police.
He helped by describing what his bike looked like while the officer wrote the report. Now he thinks all the policemen in the city are out looking for his bike."
Everyone in the line chuckled a bit at the innocence of a little boy who thought the police had nothing better to do than find his stolen bike. I got my coffee, sat for while, sipping it and reading the paper. The mom and little boy bought something and left the cafe. I watched from my table as they walked down the street. For some reason I could not get that kid, and his innocence, out of my head. I thought about how this just might be his first lesson in reality-there are "bad guys" in the world and the police probably won't ever find his bike.
I thought back to my own childhood-which was not happy-and remembered what it felt like to be the child whose innocence was betrayed.
I finished my coffee and hopped into my truck. I drove to a local store and bought a bike. I had a ball as I picked out every bell and whistle a bike could have! A helmet, a bell, a water bottle, streamers…you name it. If it could be attached to a bike I got it (including a big, fancy lock.) The man in the store agreed to assemble everything for me and when it was all together he loaded into the back of my truck.
I did not know where the little boy lived but I knew he must have lived near the cafe. I cruised the streets around the cafe and before long I saw them. Walking side by side, strolling down the street. I pulled my truck to the side of the street, got out and said "Are you the young man whose bike was stolen?" The little boy looked at his mom, then looked at me and said "Yes." I got down to his level, looked him in the eye and said "Sometimes bad things happen. That's life. But I want you to know that sometimes good things happen too."
I got up, lifted the bike out of the back of the truck and set it in front of him. "Take good care of your new bike, maybe keep it inside at night." As I drove away I could see the mom and the little boy still looking at each other in disbelief. He had a grin from ear to ear on his face. The story doesn't end there though. Many weeks later I was, once again, sitting at that cafe. In walked the mom and the little boy! He ran up to me and said "I've been looking for you!"
He gave me a note, hand-written in the charming way only a 6-7 year old can print, along with a gift. He'd decorated a clay pot with all manner of bits and bobs, globs of glue all over it. It was perfect!
Source: Kind Spring