Thursday, April 15, 2010


I was just about 5 or 6 yrs old at the time. It was a Saturday morning and I went with my Dad to pick up doughnuts. Dad often got doughnuts on Saturday morning, usually a dozen or two for the "guys in the shop" - diesel mechanics for a CAT dealer. Sometimes, we got a half dozen for us at home to enjoy.
It was a spring morning, sunny, warmish. The parking spots were angled off the street on a bit of an incline. We had pulled in, and Dad noticed that the car next to ours had a small boy of about 4 years of age moving around in the car with no adult in sight.
This was in the early 60's, before there were car seats, use of seat belts and safety feature of not being able to put the car in reverse without a foot on the brake. Both cars were long, wide, 4 door sedans, that mimiced oceanliners.
Dad seemed to have a sense of what was about to happen. He told me to stay in the car and he jumped out just as the car next to ours was slowly backing down into the street. Dad opened the car door, sat in, pulled the car up, put it in park and turned off the engine.
At once a fellow came running out of the doughnut shop with box of doughnut in hand. My Dad was standing next to his car, and I'm sure he told him it wasn't wise to leave the car running with a curious little boy inside. The man with the doughnuts began yelling at my father who had done nothing, but saved his child from an awful accident and spared the man's car from injury.
He huffed, got in his car and pulled away.
Dad and I went into the doughnut shop and picked up our doughnuts for the day. It bothered me it did, that my Dad got yelled at for doing the right thing. No matter that Dad was white and the father of the little boy was black.
Dad said he would've done it all over again, even with the same outcome. The right thing is the right thing no matter what.
I'll never forget that morning, the near miss of an accident with an unattended child playing with a the knobs, levers and steering wheel of a running car, how quick my Dad noticed and acted, loud, angry un deserved words spoken, and the sweet smell of doughnuts and the lesson of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
I admired my Dad for that. I admired my Dad for caring about a small child no matter what color or race or ethnicity they were. I admired my Dad for the doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do, even if you were misunderstood, or kicked in the pants for it.
My Dad will always be my hero. Thanks, Dad. It's been 5 years and a month and I still miss you so much.

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