It was another busy day on the London
Underground. As the doors of the tube opened, a single mother
with a Downs Syndrome child pushed her way in. At the other end
of the same carriage another mother with two small boys, each
holding red balloons, also managed to get inside.
Despite her mother's best efforts, the Downs Syndrome child was
screaming and shouting. Nobody moved to offer them a seat. Backs
were turned, books and newspapers were raised; everybody kept
their heads down.
Then the other mother began speaking to her two boys. Seconds
later the two boys, with their red balloons, made their way
through the crowded carriage towards the distraught child. When
they reached her, somewhat reluctantly, they handed the mother
and her child their two balloons.
At that moment, the child stopped crying and struggling in her
mother's arms. She took hold of the balloons and a huge smile
came to her face. Two red balloons - an unexpected and
unsolicited gift - calmed the tormented child.
As the boys rejoined their mother, heads were raised. People
began to clap and to thank the boys for their kindness. For a
moment there was a real sense of community in that carriage.
It took a simple act of generosity to calm a mother and her
child. It took that act to free the rest of us from our
inhibitions and fears of becoming involved. It took the exchange
between those two little boys and a tormented child to help us
discover, for a moment, the true meaning of what it means to be
alive and together in community.
~ Anon ~