"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

(Almost) Never Pick Up Strangers

We try to protect our children, to teach them to be safe, to show them the way. But then...it rains.

While heading across town to the girls' art class we experienced a torrential downpour. (Yes, Mom. I actually called it RAIN.) About two blocks from our house, we passed a cyclist, hood up, working her way up the hill. By "cyclist," I mean a woman on a bike. She wasn't a hard-core cyclist with her neon Spandex and matching helmet and shoes. No, she was a cyclist by chance, unprepared for the weather and certainly not enjoying it. She was soaked from her white, quilted-nylon coat with the faux-fur liner to her jeans and tennis shoes. The bag she carried over her shoulder wasn't helping her keep her balance, and I'm not sure she could really see at all through the downpour.

I pulled up beside her, rolled down the window and...

"Mom! Why are you rolling down the window?!"

I didn't answer my daughter. Instead, I did what we tell our children not to do.

"Do you want to put your bike in the back and I'll give you a ride," I hollered out the window.

The cyclist gave pause. Clearly, she'd been taught not to take rides from strangers. But we were both adults, she ever-more soaked with each passing moment, and I in a minivan emblazoned with my website address and carrying two children in the back seat.

I suppose we both decided neither of us would be much of a threat.

As we pulled into the driveway of her intended destination, the rain stopped.

"Thank you. That was very Christian of you," she said.

I didn't have the heart to tell her charitable deeds aren't limited by faith. I smiled, waved, and got back in the van.

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