There is an initiative on twitter #1000speak and a facebook group that started with two wonderful people Lizzi and Yvonne. February 20th bloggers will unite and speak about compassion. If you don’t have a blog you can submit a piece to the blog they started by clicking here. What started with 2 people quickly turned into over a 1000 and they are still hoping for more voices so I hope you join in some capacity.
One voice has a conversation w/ another voice & before you know it the connection fuels compassion which spreads like wildfire
I think it is a very lovely project and I hope to contribute to it everyday by showcasing compassionate people and stories here!
It can be loud and grand, and sometimes it might have a global effect, but most times compassion happens in the small moments and it is in those small moments big things happen.
I think Don’s story is the perfect example. Compassion is about using who you are, in whatever role you are in, to make a difference in another person’s life. Making connections when there is no obligation to make a connection.
This is only one of Don’s many stories. Please say hello to Don!
SHE CHARMED MY HEART
I bought a mood necklace on Amazon today.
It has a heart charm, just like she said she’d like to have someday.
I had parked my patrol car in front of her house and wasn’t even out of the car yet when another officer shouted for me to hurry up. He was standing in the open front doorway with a shotgun in his hands, ordering somebody inside to get down on the ground and show him his hands.
I hurried past the shotgun wielding officer and saw a man laying on the ground yelling and screaming about some such nonsense or other. I quickly put my handcuffs on him and left him for other officers behind me to deal with, so I could search the rest of the house for the woman who we were told originally called 911.
The 911 call evaluator had said a woman called and there was lots of screaming and talk of guns and knives and of kids being in the house. Sometimes that’s true, but oftentimes the gun talk is to get the police to show up faster. It sounded like an old fashioned clusterfuck.
With no sign of mom in the house, and the only adult now in handcuffs, I watched as other officers tended to the three wailing kids. One of the officers was older, but didn’t have any kids of his own, and the other two were younger guys, no kids yet either. I sort of chuckled as they awkwardly tried to console and talk to the kids about what had happened.
“You guys are killing me,” I finally said. “Go away.”
I took the kids into what I called a play room and waited as they finally calmed down. “You’re three, aren’t you?” I asked the middle sized girl as she wiped tears from her face.
She smiled through a couple of last blubbers and said, “Yes! I’m three and a half. My mom says so.”
“Awe, I knew you were three. I have a three year old at home too,” I said.
The older girl looked at me surprised.”You do?” She asked.
I don’t know why this is always a shock to kids, but it always seems to be. Maybe finding out a cop has a family is like finding out your teacher is a real human being with a family outside of the classroom as well. Either way, that got the girl’s attention.
“I do,” I said. He’s three and is name is Gman. “I also have a five year old boy AND,” I touched the older girl on the nose as I finished “a girl about your age too.”
“WOW!” The oldest girl said.
Meanwhile, outside the door, I could hear the man in handcuffs pleading and cursing his case about what happened between he and his girlfriend that caused us to be in his house.
“Yep, her name is Ace and she’s eleven. How are old are you, ten?” I guessed.
“I’m nine,” the little girl answered.
We talked about school and friends and movies as well. “I got to see Frozen at the theater and we watched it at home too,” she said proudly.
“I haven’t seen Frozen,” I had to admit, “but my kids have. You know what I did see though?”
“What?” she said excitedly.
“I took the kids to see Big Hero Six. Have you seen that?”
“Not yet, but I want to. All my friends at school have seen it.”
“Gosh,” I said. “You should have your mom take you, because it’s really, really good.”
She was smiling the whole time we talked. Her smile was amazing, a bright white surrounded by her beautiful brown skin. I could have just hugged her right there. She was fiddling with a train track that her brother had asked her to assemble. She was obviously used to dealing with him as a good big sister.
“You guys have a lot of toys in here,” I said. “It’s a mess like my kids’ playroom.”
I had said it innocently enough, but I sort of regretted it when she immediately looked at me and asked, “your kids have a PLAYroom?”
She was clearly impressed, and I felt like a heel when I noticed the bed on the far side of the room. It was covered in toys, just like the floor. There was also a table and a television hooked up to nothing. No DVD player or cable box at all. The toys reminded me of toys that make their way to Goodwill and other second hand shops after luckier kids have worn tired of playing with them because they have new toys to be enjoyed.
“Well,” I said. “It’s really supposed to be our dining room, but the kids have taken it over so we call it a playroom”
“Do they have their own rooms?” She asked out of the blue. There was no sense in lying to this sweet child that I could see.
“Yes. They each have a room of their own.”
“Wow,” she said again.
Knowing the answer, I asked it anyway. “Do you sleep in this room with your brother and sister?”
She sort of looked towards the lone twin bed and sighed. “Yeah,” she answered. “But someday, I hope to have a bedroom in the basement.”
“I hope you do, sweetheart. That’s something I bet your mom and dad will make happen for you real soon. A girl should have her own place to think, right?”
She nodded and turned back to her tracks. “He’s my stepdad, but yep, I think I’ll have a basement room some day. I also want a mood necklace.”
I found that last request a little bit odd, but I asked her what that was anyway.
She explained it to me. “It changes color when your mood changes. You can get bracelets or necklaces and they come in hearts and stars and all kinds of stuff.”
“You know what then?” I said. I don’t even have a filter to stop me anymore. I can’t resist these cute kids, so I blurted out, “I’m going to look for one and when I find it, I’ll bring it to you, okay?”
She nodded her head enthusiastically. She had been so brave and strong for her brother and sister, she deserved to be rewarded.
She told us what had happened and helped us sort out the mess, so when I got home later on that night, I went online and I Googled “heart mood necklace.”
I bought it for her and brought it to her just a couple of days later.
The man who had been yelling and screaming that night, the stepdad, answered the door. Oh yeah, he had to go to jail that night. In a somewhat awkward moment, I asked him how they were doing and asked permission to give his stepdaughter a small token of my gratitude. The dad was actually pleasant and thanked me for bringing it to her. He called her to the door from the back room.
When she came to the door, she knew exactly why I was there, at least I assumed she did from that giant smile on her face.
I presented her with an $8.50 mood necklace, and she couldn’t have been any happier.
Truth be told, I couldn’t have been any happier either.
I hope that mood necklace always glows green or blue or whatever color means she’s happy, because she deserves it.
About the Author:
Donofalltrades is a sort of well, a Don of all trades, but master of none. By day, he’s a cop, which often requires him to be a counselor, referee, judge, doctor, priest, runner, wrestler, life coach, and on and on. He’s also an attorney, a husband and a father to three great kids and a couple of not so great dogs (he kids, they’re just okay).
What started out as a humor blog has turned into a whatever Don feels like writing about blog. Having found that people really enjoy even these “pedestrian” encounters he has as a police officer, he’s become open to sharing them in the hopes that some positive light is shined on what most cops do every day, as well as into the lives of people many of us would otherwise never know about.
You can catch his antics at http://www.donofalltrades.com