December 27, 2016

Small Act, Big Impact

Ms. Jacobs

There are many advantages of attending a school in a diverse and busy city, including the ability to observe microcosms of human interaction. While attending Baruch College, I would frequently spend my breaks between classes walking through Madison Square Park and people-watching.
More often than not, individuals would drift through the park wrapped up in whatever was coursing through their minds, out of touch with their surroundings, focused on getting to wherever they need to be. However, every so often, I would witness a brief interaction of pure humanity.
One spring day, after a psychology class, I found myself sitting in the Park. While I enjoyed the beautiful day, a mother and her young son sat next to me.
The young boy, who appeared to be about four years old, had a balloon in one hand and ice cream in the other. He sat there happily licking away, trying to stop the drips of the melting treat from reaching his hand. All the while, his mother enjoyed her David Sedaris novel.
A short while later, an older man with coiffed gray hair sat down on the bench next to the young boy. The boy looked up at him and stuck out his tongue, which still had remnants of his melted ice cream on it.
The old man returned his gaze and promptly retaliated with his own tongue. The boy found great joy in this and followed up with crossing his eyes as best he could. The old man chuckled and an exchange of goofy faces between the two proceeded.
After a couple minutes of this, the boy handed his balloon to the old man. The old man took it and as he gazed into the boy’s eyes, he started to cry.
The young mother, having looked up from her book to see this old man crying with her son’s balloon in his hand, immediately assumed that her son had upset him. She began to reprimand him before the old man quickly stopped her.
He expressed that he had a son who looked very much like her own and that he was a loving boy with a wonderful sense of humor.
The conversation soon took on a more somber tone as the old man explained that his son had passed a year prior and that his interaction with her son had brought up fond memories. Memories of a time when he had taken his own son to the park every Sunday and bought him ice cream. The mother’s eye began to well up with tears.
The old man stood up, shook the little boy’s hand, thanked him for the balloon and thanked his mother for having such a beautiful and loving son. He then walked off with the balloon in hand and the cool breeze in his hair.
The mother looked down at her son, put her book back in her bag and picked him up into her arms. She embraced him so tightly that he dropped his ice cream. He looked down at it and they both began to laugh.

Rebecca Jacobs is the Coordinator of Experiential Education here at Golda Och Academy. Mrs. Jacobs is passionate about working with youth and their families and coordinating educational and volunteer programming.

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