Thursday, May 13, 2010

Save the Children

Krispy Kreme Donuts seem as ubiquitous as they are delicious. In my nook of the world, on any given day, you can encounter someone selling Krispy Kreme Donuts. Five bucks for a dozen fosters a lot of goodwill at the office.

Yesterday, a donut seller approached my passenger window on New York Avenue at Bladensburg Rd. I waved him off, but he persisted, mouthing something I couldn't make out (given XM's 70s on 7 blaring in the car). Alonte Sutton's reported earnestness and tragic end came to mind, and I let the window down a bit, to engage with the young man.

I understood him to say something about a donation and basketball jerseys; then I noticed how young he looked...then I remembered it was 10ish in the morning on a school day. So as I dug around for money before the light changed, I interrogated him:

Me: "Where do you go to school?"
Him: "..Park."
Me: "Takoma Park?"
Him: "Palmer Park"
Me: "What are you doing all the way down here?!"
Him: "Raising money so we can buy basketball jerseys"
Me: "Why aren't you at school?"
Him: "We had a field trip today and I didn't have the money to go."

At this point, I'd found the money and the light was changing; I handed it over. He thanked me and I drove off with a heavy heart.
He may have been lying about the field trip. He may have been lying about everything-- but whatever circumstance led to this tween hustling donuts at busy intersection on a school day is sad, to me.

Granted, schools are not the havens of safety and learning that they were in that idyllic past where we all grew up, but, still; being at school's gotta be better than hustling donuts at a busy intersection, right?; .

Then again, maybe not. Killing kids at school seems a sad fad in China these days; stateside, a kindergartener's body was found stuffed in her Sunday School teacher's suitcase (the teacher confessed to the murder), and a mentally unbalanced person wandered the halls at my son's school yesterday, raging at whomever was in spitting distance (after having been scanned and waved through by security guards, of course.)

No one was harmed at my son's school; luck of the draw, grace of God.

Maybe busy intersections are safer than school.

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