Seen from the car

I was driving home from work the other day and saw a girl, perhaps ten or eleven years old, holding a piece of paper and bawling her eyes out. She was so distraught, walking fast and crying, I wondered if I should stop.

It was probably math. With girls that age it’s always math. I have a black belt in algebra, I could have helped maybe. But I didn’t dare.

It’s sad but now reaching out to help a child that way can bring you a world of trouble. Parents are terrified that there are sex-fiends hiding behind every bush, waiting for our kids. We all studiously mind our own business now, and avoid trouble.

But I swear I’m not one of those!

I hope somone was able to talk her back down.

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6 Responses to Seen from the car

  1. Aussie Emjay says:

    We live in weird times. I’d have stopped, but then I’m a woman (not that that is necessarily “safe”) – I would’ve worried she had directions/an address on the paper and was lost.

  2. Nice of you to want to help, but yes, she probably has been well-drilled in “stranger danger” and would have freaked if you pulled over and asked her what’s wrong. It is a shame, but even teachers are told not to touch their students, especially those of the opposite sex. The primary grade teachers will give a hug to a tearful little one sometimes, but male teachers particularly are wary of giving kids hugs, no matter how apropos the situation.

    I don’t think I would have assumed it was homework or a bad test. I would have thought it was a note from the teacher, describing some transgression the child pulled in class that day. If she’s not used to getting notes like that, she’s probably terrified she’ll get a tongue-lashing or worse. I know I was, the one time I got wrote up.

  3. Lakshmi says:

    Being mom of a little girl, I am guilty of this excess too. Yesterday in the train, we ran into a gentleman (~60 years old) who is an acquaintance, and when he hugged my daughter to say hello, both daughter and I bristled. His hug was genuine. It is sad when the balance between safety and affection is skewed in favour of safety..

  4. kimkiminy says:

    Could have been a “Dear Jane” letter, too. You were right to not stop. As sad as it is, having a penis automatically makes one suspect of pedophilia. Approaching an already distraught young girl would have looked bad. Here you are standing over a crying girl, and THAT would be the moment her folks rolled up. Or a cop.

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