ABCD award

I earned an ABCD award this week. I was at the pool when a lady arrived for a session with a therapist. She managed to get down the steps into the pool and then panicked. She seemed to have limited vision and could not see the bench she was to sit on. She had a death grip on the rail and could not let go. Dave, the therapist,  had his hand on her shoulder offering help but I was in the pool and he was not. I took over because it needed to be done. I talked with her, learned her name, told her mine. She told me she was in the blitz in London in 1943. I told her I was in Philadelphia during the war, inconsequential chatter in my effort to calm her.
With time and talking and the help of the pool guy, Vince, we managed to calm her down, eventually put her in a chair lift to leave the pool. Once out of the water she told me she wasn’t much of a mermaid and I said: I think you lost your tail. She laughed and waved good-bye when she was dressed and leaving with her care giver or relative. I told her she earned some chocolate cake.
Dave came by later and told me I had earned the ABCD award… Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
All day and the next I began to think of times an ABCD award could be presented. It reminded me of a time sixty years ago when I had a flat tire on route from Washington,DC to Massachusetts.  My father would not let me get a driver’s license until I knew how to change a flat tire. There I was, in a white dress, trying to undo the lugs to change a tire.  A car pulled up and a gentleman came out and helped me. I offered to give him some money and he said offering help to someone else would be payment enough. It was about a year later when I gently pushed a car stuck in a deep rain puddle that I felt my debt had been repaid.
Today I would not welcome a car stopping behind me on a freeway with a flat tire. I would probably be terrified. Yet the act of helping someone is so important. I recall a teacher once who asked her students to do an act of kindness every day.  The kids would return from recess with tales of retrieving balls for a kindergartener, or holding the door for a teacher. They would arrive in the morning telling of good deeds they had done at home. Is there time in the busy curriculum of today for acts of kindness, of teaching how to be polite, of caring about your fellow students?
It would not have even occurred to me to let this lady flounder in the pool and say it was not my problem.  I have thought all day of my verbal ABCD award. I will try to get another soon.

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3 Responses to ABCD award

  1. Stacey says:

    I think Morning Meeting is a great place to teach students about RAK (Random Acts of Kindness). It’s hard to fit it in, but well-worth it, isn’t it?

  2. jenb says:

    I love this post! I am relatively young, and even I miss the kind-heartedness that I seemed to witness on a much regular basis when I was young. I laughed when I read your line about being terrified if someone stopped to help you on the road nowadays. Then, I got kind of sad. I completely identified, but I sure wish I didn’t have to!

  3. blkdrama says:

    Is there a better feeiling than getting those ABCD awards? I agree with Stacey. What a cool way to bring it home to kids…
    Bravo, Award Winner,
    Bonnie

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