I first published this post last week on my personal blog, Dear Max and Rebecca, so if you read it, there’s no need to read on.
Last week, my son was excited for his first “real” cricket match. It was riveting for a few reasons: he loves cricket, was ecstatic to make the team, and it was his first “real” game, having moved on from mini-cricket matches that he played in grades one and two. Also, it was an away match, which means they were going to be bussed there and back. And in full kit too – pads, helmet, gloves and the ball box (is there a better way to say this? Protector? Guard?).
So you get that he was excited, right? At around midday that day, he called me from school. My first words, always, when I hear him or a teacher call, are “What’s wrong?”. So I asked what was wrong, and he calmly said that he didn’t have the required long white socks, and that he wouldn’t be able to play the match without them.
I didn’t even know he needed them, which made me feel even worse than not being able to leave work, and get to a shop in time, and get him to the match in time. Anyway, I started to hustle – WhatsApped a few people, and eventually someone from our grade three class said she had a spare pair, and would give them to Max (this is just one reason I’m a big and rare fan of class/school WhatsApp groups).
While I was high-fiving myself and exhaling that my son could get to his match, I failed to ask the mom where she would drop off the socks (ie at school or at the match), and I didn’t let the school or Max know that I had secured a pair.
And so, the glory was later shattered when at around 1.50pm (after the bus had left), one of the teachers called me to say that Max was going to aftercare, because he didn’t have the right socks. Now, I know rules are rules are rules are rules, but I was hoping they would give the little guy – and me – a break since it was our first rodeo.
Anyway, I spoke to Max and he was inconsolable and distraught, which I completely understood, and from my office in Sandton, many kilometres away from him, I felt sad for him, and so helpless.
I called his dad because I know he would have some practical solutions, or could possibly negotiate with the school. He called the school to try to find out more, and was told that the principal, upon seeing my devastated child, decided to take him to Sportsman’s Warehouse, buy the required socks (they aren’t sold at the school uniform shop), and then drop him off at the match. He was going to be late, but he was going to be happy.
I was very grateful for this incredible act of kindness from someone who I don’t really know personally.
That night, I emailed the principal to say a huge thanks, and asked how much I owed her for the socks. She replied the next morning, saying that seeing my child’s delighted face was all the payment she needed.
And that, folks, is the epitome of benevolence. A bigg’ish act, with a massive return.
My son didn’t get to bat that afternoon, but he soared on the field. In his long white socks. And with his mom cheering him from her heart.
Adapted from a post on my personal blog, Dear Max and Rebecca