No matter how much we try to deny it, we all engage in judging others to some extent. It’s a natural human tendency as we navigate our surroundings, but that doesn’t justify or make it morally right.
Acknowledging our own prejudices isn’t exactly flattering, as it reveals a rather bleak and dark side of our personalities. Similarly, the father in the following narrative wasn’t proud to expose that side of himself. However, he chose to share his experience so that we could learn something invaluable from his son.
Why not attempt to perceive the world through the eyes of an innocent and unbiased child? Blanton O’Neal was spending time with his 11-year-old son, Sean when they encountered a situation that could happen to anyone—it’s an easy mistake to make.
The father later recounted the events of that day in a Facebook post:
“I debated whether to share this story as it doesn’t paint me in the most flattering light. But in the end, it reflects a part of many of us if we’re truly honest with ourselves.
Yesterday, while Sean and I were traveling to North Carolina for his soccer tournament, we stopped at an exit near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. We pulled into a small gas station to grab a drink. While I went to pay, I handed Sean the car keys so he could head back to the car.
It took me a little while to complete the transaction, and as I exited the store, I noticed Sean’s door was open, and he was walking away from the car towards a man in a wheelchair. The man was an older African American gentleman, with amputated legs, and he appeared to be homeless.
Regrettably, my initial reaction was, ‘Oh no! He must be asking Sean for money and has called him over.’
However, as I approached, I realized that Sean had actually had a brief conversation with the man, turned around, and headed back to the car. So, I did the same. Once I got into the car, I asked Sean what had happened.
‘Nothing, Dad. I just asked if he needed help.’
He replied, ‘No thanks, I’m fine,’ but he thanked me for asking.”
You see, at first glance, I didn’t even notice that the gentleman was trying to traverse a gravel parking lot, full of potholes, in a wheelchair, using only his hands. I failed to see what my 11-year-old child saw in the rearview mirror of the car—Sean abandoned his electronic devices, got out, and offered to assist the man.
As we prepared to leave, Sean asked if we could give the man some money. We pulled up beside him, and I asked if he needed a few bucks.
He declined, saying, ‘No, thank you. I’m fine. Your son was a true gentleman and gave me everything I needed today. God bless.’
We rolled up the window and started to drive away. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sean wave at him, and the man waved back with a huge smile on his face.
Would I have gotten out of the car and done the same?
I’m not sharing this seeking praise for Sean. I’m sharing this to expose a prevailing ugliness in our world. We spread so much venom and hatred through every news channel, every Facebook post, every tweet. It’s not a matter of political affiliation; it’s something we all do. We’ve forgotten how to view the world through the innocent eyes of a child.
Over the years, many people have commented on Sean’s kind-heartedness. Although he can be larger than life in social settings, always playing the joker, his small acts of kindness go unnoticed, as they should. Sean wasn’t seeking recognition for his actions. He didn’t even know I would witness them. He simply saw a man whom he believed needed help.
If each of us made someone smile every day, whether a stranger, a friend, or a family member, I genuinely believe we could change the world for the better. Blanton’s story highlights why it’s crucial not to judge anyone solely based on their appearance or attire.
Children possess a remarkable ability to see beyond superficialities, but as adults, we’ve lost that ability and tend to judge people far too easily, far too often.
I hope that Sean’s example of kindness can serve as a small step toward change. Perhaps today, we can all do something kind for a stranger?
Please like and share this story. Together, we can all contribute to making our world a better place.”