A dad assumed that the man in a wheelchair, who was speaking to his 11-year-old son at the gas station, was just trying to get money from him. But, when the young boy returned to their car, he revealed what actually happened — and that’s when the dad’s heart froze.
Blanton O’Neal was out with his 11-year-old son, Sean, when he came across a situation that could happen to anyone. Since it’s easy to make the same mistake he did, Blanton quickly took to Facebook to reveal exactly what happened when he and his son stopped at a gas station and his boy crossed paths with a stranger. He hopes that sharing the unflattering incident will help others make a difference and prevent them from the ugly truth he was forced to face.
“I debated making a post of this as it paints a not so flattering picture of me as a person. But I think in the end it is a picture of many of us if we are truly honest with ourselves.
Yesterday, as Sean and I traveled to NC for his soccer tourney we stopped at an exit near the N.C./S.C. border and pulled off at a small gas station for a drink. While I paid, I gave Sean the keys so he could head back out to the car.
It took me a little while to checkout and as I exited the store, I noticed Sean’s door opened and he was walking away from my car towards a man in a wheelchair. He was an older African American gentleman, with amputated legs and appeared ‘homeless’.
My first reaction, sadly, was “oh crap! He is hitting Sean up for money and has called him over.
But as I walked closer Sean had clearly had a short conversation with the man, turned around and headed back to the car. So I did the same.
As I entered the car, I asked him what that was all about.
‘Nothing Dad. I just was asking if he needed help.
He said no thanks, that he was fine but thanked me for asking.’
See, at first glance I didn’t even notice that the gentleman was attempting to cross a gravel parking lot, full of potholes, in a wheelchair using only his hands. I didn’t notice that my 11yo child was man enough to see this in the mirror of my car, drop his electronics he was playing, get out and offer to help the guy.
As we began to leave Sean asked if we could give the man some money. We pulled up beside him and I asked if he could use a few bucks.
He said ‘no thank you, I’m fine. Your son was a real gentleman and gave me all I needed today. God Bless.’
We rolled up the window and began to drive off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sean wave at him and he waved back with a huge smile on his face.
Would I have gotten out of the car and done the same?
I don’t post this looking for any praise for Sean. I post this to expose a real nastiness we have in our world. We spew such bile and hatred on every news channel, every Facebook post, every tweet. It’s not a right or left thing. We all do it. We have forgotten to look at the world through the eyes of a child.
Many people have told us over the years how big hearted Sean is. While he can be bigger than life in many social settings, choosing to be the jokester, his small acts of kindness fly under the radar, as they should. Sean wasn’t looking for praise for what he did. He didn’t even know I would see it. He just saw a man that he thought needed help.
According to his dad, Sean is baffled by his story going viral because he doesn’t see his actions as a big deal — and O’Neal hopes to keep it that way. “Though I have certainly told him how proud I was of him, I’ve tried not to make it a huge deal either,” he says. “I want him to consider those actions as just the right thing to do.”
We hope that Sean’s example of kindness can be a small step on the way to change — perhaps we can all do something nice for a stranger today?
Like and share this story — we can all help make our world a better place.