I love this boy. He is startled by the odd ways that life can sometimes play out. Parents and supervisors do not always dole out punishments when a kid makes mistakes. Even if that was what he fully expected to receive. Sometimes adults, quite surprisingly, can just listen to your story and actually appreciate it for what it is. They can even find the funny in them–perhaps even more than you can see.
That is Sal’s story. On the most exciting and terrifying day of his life, he got to regale his chaperones with his exploits in a most compelling manner. His voice was heard and, perhaps, by the end of his speech he felt vindicated.
His tale went something like this:
He and his friend were looking for something to do with their free time afrter dinner at the food court. Thanks to a moment of incredible inspiration, they decided to trot up the “down” escalator. It went smoothly and they felt like heros. They had singlehandedly saved themselves from boredom. But, as we all know, feats like these must come in pairs. So they bravely went on to execute their next move, forgetting about how the poor cane-bearing man had just missed meeting them painfully on their way up.
Their courage mounting with every escalator moving toward them, they took the plunge. Now was the time to really live dangerously! They reached the bottom without incident. Then our story teller happened to intercept the unfriendly gaze of a man with a badge. Suddenly it looked like their lives might be over if they didn’t move quickly. “Let’s walk,” he alerted his emboldened sidekick. “Now. That security guard is looking our way.”
Breaking into a fast trot and an equally fast sweat, they make their way into the nearest store. They couldn’t have chosen a more fitting locale for their dramatic (and soon to be comical) getaway. The patrol man is not fooled by these young males adopting a sudden interest in feminine frocks for the fashion forward.
While one is holding up an article whose print would work so well with the complexion of the other, they are accosted. “Gentlemen, can I ask you some questions?” The ordeal, with its confrontation of foolish behaviors and warnings to be careful of pedestrians, ends with our dear boys being ordered to exit the mall and wait for their more obedient comrades from the outside.
Heading in the direction of the doors, our boys wonder whether their ignorance of mall security protocol puts them at the risk of following an order that is illegitimate. After all, who has ever heard of being removed from a mall–isn’t it public property? In the final analysis the two decide the man in uniform had very little grounds on which to behave as though this were “his mall.”
It is in this state that these characters have their second run-in of the night, though this one is less official. The instigator of this one is a harmless older Asian woman who sweetly asks them to contribute to her youth group’s fundraiser. They are quite touched, feeling as though they have found someone with whom they can find common ground at such a volatile time.
They dig in the pockets of their basketball shorts and jeans. Together they assemble a modest sum that blesees both the woman they give to ans they themselves. They introduce themselves and inform her that they belong to a youth group and love Jesus. She is delighted at the news and they take a moment to pray for their groups in different states. They leave refreshed, exuberantly declaring that “God is awesome!”
Finally, they make it outside, convinced that this is the single most exhilerating day of their lives. It makes them wonder what more fun they could be having while they’re still outta state!