I have been thinking about the following moment a lot lately. I don’t really know what my thoughts on it say about me, people, or the world in which we live. It’s just something I want to say and think about.
On July 11 I was flying back from a wedding in Santa Barbara with my wife. The only thing really on our minds was the fact that some bitch may or may not have thrown a glass of red wine in my wife’s purse thereby ruining her brand new iPhone 4. But then I saw the saddest sight I have ever seen. The only emotion that this sight caused was sadness.
A little boy, maybe age eight, was sitting by himself. He was surrounded by luggage and was silently crying to himself. Mind you he was not bawling. He was not creating a scene. Tears just streamed down his face and there may have been an occasional, almost inaudible, whimper. I did nothing to help this little boy. I didn’t even know if he spoke English. We were in LAX after all. Eventually he got up. He stormed off. He left his luggage unattended. He found a security person. This person then called another officer to wait with the boy while she went to find his grandmother. She found his sister. Eventually she found the grandmother. She was in line for sandwiches. They had missed the flight. The boy knew that they were missing the flight. He knew that his grandmother was taking too long and so he wept.
I watched all of this while waiting for my flight. It got me thinking. The sight of that little boy crying was epically sad. I felt helpless. I did not know what to do. All I wanted to do was help but couldn’t raise the courage or ability to simply ask the boy what was wrong. What was causing his distress. I now know that all I want to do in this life is to never see a child silently crying again.
I am an attorney. I ostensibly help people. I don’t really though. It is the people like those officers that helped this crying child that really help people. Remember that when some minor detail like red wine in your purse or some media created issue like a celebrity arrest or wrongful firing cause an uproar.