So there I was, approaching a busy traffic crossing. Already poised to cross were two teens and a few other pedestrians.
The lights changed. Instead of crossing, the teens turned back to gesture animatedly at a younger child whom I had not noticed earlier. She stood beneath a tree, steadfastly refusing to proceed, crossed her arms and plopped herself on the bench. As the traffic light beeped its 10-second warning, the teens shrugged and continued on their way.
I had reached the crossing by then, and waited for the next light change. The teens had disappeared from view but the child had stood and scrunched up her face, pacing before the tree.
Out of seemingly nowhere, an auntie appeared and bent to ask the child if she was lost. Then another auntie appeared, already digging out her phone and asking, “Eh, girl, where’s your mummy?”
I was on the verge of going up to explain about the teens when the lights changed and we were all swept forward. The aunties held her hands and, reaching the other side, they continued to ask her for her name and where she’d last seen her family.
Then there was a shriek and one of the teens popped out from a store. The child shrieked back. Reunion.
The little drama at the traffic crossing could have ended in a completely different direction. But what mattered was how the aunties stepped up to help a child they didn’t know.
Thank you, aunties. Your kindness enriched my day.