To the concrete workers at the neighbors:
I wish I knew your names. You were installing a concrete patio next door to my 6-year-old grandson's house. He was fascinated by the things you were doing and started talking to you over the fence. "What are you doing? Why are you doing that? What is that machine for?"
He asked an endless barrage of questions that would cause some busy workers to say "Go away, kid, you are bothering me."
But, you didn't have that reaction. Instead you patiently explained everything you were doing to him and why (even though that created even more questions). And then, you asked him if he wanted to come over and "help" you.
What an incredible act of patience and kindness.
Of course he said yes and helped you gather and carry trash and debris. He found an old piece of twine that you told him he could keep. And, when you were done, you told him you would finish everything the next day, and if he was there, he could help again.
Well, as soon as he came inside his own house, he asked for a piece of paper. He wanted to write you a note, thanking you for letting him help. After he finished the note, he told me he had $0.26 that he wanted to pay you for letting him help. That was money he had been saving. We took the note and the money and, since it was raining, sealed it in a zip-lock bag. We masking-taped it to the trailer of tools and supplies you left behind.
The next day, after school, you were gone - finished with the patio. He was disappointed, but happy that he felt you got his letter and twenty-six cents. He asked if I knew how to call you. If I knew what your company was. Sadly, I did not.
I wish I could have seen your reaction to finding that heartfelt thank-you.
So, thank you from me, the grandma. You didn't have to be patient. You didn't have to let him help and be underfoot. But, you did. I know he will grow up with the image that workers are kind, patient, smart and something he can aspire to be.
I also thank you for teaching me that in the acts that adults think are small or routine or even boring – there can be magic to a child. Thank you for the magic.
"It's important to remember that we all have magic inside of us."