While in La Jolla California today, I decide to stop off at my favorite cantina for a bite to eat. Those who know me well enough know I’m referring to Josés Courtroom on Prospect. Known for its fine dining, high-end shopping and many art galleries; La Jolla is a small “Jewel by the Sea” where many flock to see and be seen.
As I parked my car I noticed a young girl on the opposite side of the street standing under a palm tree crying. It wasn’t difficult to notice she was visibly upset. The young girl appeared to be in her early twenties. She was wearing cut off jean shorts and tank top immersed with tears. She also had her fair share of tattoos, which I can only imagine told some very interesting stories.
As I crossed the street I couldn’t help but notice two things that troubled me terribly. I could see that she was crying so hard she cold barely maintain her composure. The second thing I noticed was not a single person had approached her to ask why she was crying. As a matter of fact as I walked towards the young girl, I watched person after person and couple after couple walk by her. No one so much as even looked her way.
As I walked up to the young girl, I touched her shoulder and asked, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” With tears streaming down her face she stumbled to tell me she was trying to earn some money so she could get back home to San Francisco by working for Save the Children. The last few days she had been assigned to La Jolla. She also told me she only needed to get two signatures a day from people willing to help children in other countries by making a small donations. Now whether you agree or disagree with that specific organization and what they do, I ask that you put those thoughts aside because that is not was this story is about.
As we talked she began telling me she was upset because people seemed to have no time or money to help less fortunate children but they had plenty of time and money for eating and shopping. I’m not saying I agree with what she was saying because I have no idea why people chose not to stop. As we talked a little more she told me how earlier she had been talking with a couple and as the wife wanted to sign up and make a donation, her husband said, “This is taking too long, let the next person help the kids.”
This young girl obviously felt a strong connection with the work she was doing and she was taking it very personal when people didn’t have time to listen or offer to help. I can appreciate that. I tried my best to get the young girl to calm down and stop crying. I shared with her how I could only imagine canvassing was not an easy job to do. I tried to get her to realize that whether people donated or not the reason she was doing this type of work was to help those less fortunate children in other countries and not for the benefit of the person who was standing in front of her. I told her I admired her for choosing a very difficult job and I had no doubt if the kids could she what she was doing for them, them would be happy and very appreciative. After about 5 minutes or so of talking and simply offering a little compassion the young girl stopped crying and seemed much calmer than when I first approached her. I was even able to get a smile out her. Before leaving, I gave her a hug and said, “I’m sorry you’re having such a rough day.”
This story was important for me to share not because of what I did but because of what so many others didn’t do. What has to happen for a person to reach out to another person in need? Obviously a young girl crying alone on a street wasn’t enough today.
What if she crying because her car had been stolen?
What if she was crying because she had lost her job?
What if she was crying because she had been beaten?
What if she was crying because she had been raped?
What if you saw this young girl crying on the street?