The smallest gesture can have lasting impact

Subir Chowdhury

During a trip to India, I was looking out a cab window and saw a child, maybe seven or eight years old. He stooped beside a street drain and was reaching in.

I asked my cab driver what the child was doing. He told me to just look the other way and ignore the child.

I could not take my eyes off what was unfolding in front of me.

This was not just some child playing in the dirt. It was more.

Having grown up in Bangladesh, I knew what hunger and famine looked like. What it did to people.

I asked my driver again what was going on and again he told me to ignore the scene.

At that point, I told my driver to stop and I exited the cab. When I walked up to the child and asked what he was doing, he told me he was searching for food.

I asked him what he did with the food he found.

He told me he would wash it and then eat it.

I’m not usually at a loss for words, but I was speechless. After a few seconds of silence, I took the boy to a shop nearby and told the man behind the counter to give the child whatever he wanted.

He chose a few things, I paid for them, and we parted company.

I know that my action would not make a huge difference in that child’s life, but my thoughtfulness may have been enough to influence that child’s outlook to know someone cared about him.

Maybe my actions would also teach my cab driver or even the shopkeeper about empathy.

All I know is at that moment, I was able to be the difference in one person’s life. Sometimes we just need to act. We need to be thoughtful and act when something we see is not right.

Think about what you can do when someone you know has their hand in a drain, when they could use your help. Even the smallest of gestures can have a lasting impact.


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