I work from home. We live in an old rural-looking neighborhood where all of the mailboxes for houses on both sides of the street are on the side that is across the street from our house. Near the mailboxes a house is being built. Much of the work appears to be being done by day laborers.
When I went to put out the mail this morning, I noticed a car parked in front of my house with a young girl perhaps 8-10 years of age sitting in the backseat. I smiled to her when I walked back toward my house and got a beautiful friendly smile in return. Her face lit up.
She appears to be the daughter of one of the day workers and was most likely out of school for the Columbus Day Holiday. She is clearly in no danger as her father is keeping an attentive eye on her from across the street and the weather is beautiful. The windows are open and the temperatures are perfect so that there is no chance of her being in a car that is heating up inside to anywhere near unsafe levels.
But I felt bad for the daughter and for her father. She is too young to leave home alone. And the construction site is way too dangerous for her to be across the street with him. So, he appears to have done the best he could for her in a bad situation.
If I was a woman, I’d have talked to the father and invited the girl to play in our yard, perhaps even with our dogs if he approved and if she liked.
But I am not a woman. I am a man and a father of a girl, and if I was that man and my daughter was the one in the car at that young age, I would be very concerned about a strange man being in any way attentive to her. And there is no way I’d want the man asking if my daughter could play in his yard.
But seeing that girl sitting alone in that car all morning—and who would probably be there all day–saddened me. I wanted to find some way to help relieve her boredom, to cheer her up, and to let her know that she is important, and that other people care for her well-being too.
It occurred to me that my daughter, who just turned 23, was home and that we had a frosty bottle of root beer in our fridge. I asked her if she’d be willing to take it out to the girl and offer it to her while it was still unopened–that way the father and the girl could be assured that its contents hadn’t been tampered with. I suggested she bring a bottle opener and if the girl accepted the root beer to please open it for her so the dad could see what was going on.
My daughter agreed, and the girl accepted the soda. As this was going on I noticed that the girl’s father, while still continuing to work, moved to the edge of the construction site nearest his daughter and watched without appearing to do so. It pleased me greatly to see how much he cared for his daughter and how carefully he protected her.
I was also happy that a Dad and his daughter were able to find a way to show kindness to a daughter in front of her Dad in a non-threatening way.