A Short Story
“Just a couple more blocks to go guys. We are almost there.” Yemi said, trying her best to sound positive and upbeat against the winter cold. Her arms ached from the weight of the groceries bags she had been carrying and from dragging Ola, her 5-year-old son along as he leaned on her for support.
She was tired but she couldn’t show it. She was also cold and hungry. Random thoughts went through her mind….. should I have waited? should I have left the kids alone at home? But she really had no choice. They had run out of groceries and much as she would have loved to take up her neighbor’s offer of a free ride at the weekend, she really had to get some things that evening.
“Mum, I think my toes are freezing” said Anita, her 9-year-old daughter. “Can we just stop and wait for the bus”?
“The bus isn’t coming until 20 mins and by then we’ll already be home” she replied. “Just keeping moving honey, I’ll make you some hot chocolates as soon as we get home”
“OK…. but will I get frostbite?”
“Not at all love. You have your padded socks and snow boots on. You’ll be fine as soon as we get in from this snow storm”
She knew she should have checked the weather forecast before she left home. That was one of the many new things she had to get used to. Certainly one of the many things you are not prepared for when relocating. Back home, dashing out to get groceries was not a big deal, but here she was learning that every outing has to be planned, especially with the kids…… especially in winter….
“God, please help us get home safely in one piece”, she prayed silently. “Let the kids be fine. Let us all be fine….
The sound of a car pulling up in front of her broke her train of thoughts. She stepped to the side of the road, pulling her Ola along, to avoid brushing the sides of the car.
“Good afternoon Miss” she heard a young boy’s voice call out. She kept walking. He couldn’t be calling her, could he? she didn’t recognize the car or the boy.
“Mummy, I think that boy is calling you” Jumoke, her 7-year old daughter called out to her. She stopped and looked back. He was actually running after her.
“Hi, Good afternoon” she replied him. He looked like a young teenager but she was sure she hadn’t seen him before
“My dad wants to give you and your kids a ride home” the boy said
“what?” she replied, stunned
“Hi there, Good afternoon. My name is Joey. I’ll like to give you and your kids a ride home if you don’t mind. Do you stay around here?”
She looked up and realized that his dad had stepped out of the car and come over to her side of the road. His wasn’t a face she recognized. Why was he stopping to help her? Was it safe to accept his help?
“I saw you and your kids walking in the cold and I can see that you’ve all got a lot to carry. We live at the next block” he said, showing her his driver’s license. “If you don’t mind, I can give you a lift so you can get home and out of the cold.”
“mummy please, can we go? I’m freezing….” cried Ola.
She looked down at him and tears filled her eyes. She knew she probably should not get into the car but she doubted that her kids could make it through the remaining 5 blocks with all the groceries bags in the blistering cold. She said a quick prayer for safety and turned to the man
“Thank you so much sir. We stay 5 blocks away on Thomas street”
“That’s fine. I’ll drop you off” Jack replied.
He opened the back of the car so they could drop off their groceries bags. She turned to get into the back seat with her kids and he stopped her.
“You can seat in front” he said
“But what about your son?” She replied. “Let him stay in front while I seat at the back with my kids”
“Zak is a big boy. He’ll jog home from here. Don’t worry about that” Jack replied
She was overwhelmed!!! He waved goodbye to his son and drove off. He chatted all the way to their house, like they were friends. He made the kids feel at home and by the time they got to their house, the kids were laughing and in high spirits. He helped her carry her groceries to the front door and as he turned to leave, he said
“I don’t do this always but when I saw your family leaving the store, I knew I should help. My family and I moved here 15 years ago and I know how hard it can be to settle into a new country with young kids. I am glad I could help make today a little less stressful for you”
Jack drove away, leaving Yemi standing, her eyes filled with tears and her heart with thanks.
In a world filled with so much negativity and distrust………”Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people”¹.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!