I knew it was chilly outside, but I was only running out to get the newspaper. And then I saw this adorable little curly blonde head on a tiny body, standing on the sidewalk by the street. She wore lightweight Disney pajamas and was barefooted. I figured her for between two and three years old. The orange construction cones and gravel where a section of sidewalk was being repaired had stopped her tender feet.
Leaving my paper, I quietly approached her. “Hi,” I said, squatting beside her. “What’s your name?” She mumbled something I didn’t catch. “Where are your mommy and daddy?” I asked, scanning the surrounding yards. No adults in sight.
“Well, let’s go find your mommy and daddy,” I said, and took her hand. Since the cones had stopped her, she must have come up the hill, so we started down. I knew the houses on our street and knew she didn’t live in any of them, but she could have been a visitor. At each house, I asked, “Is this your house?” and she would shake those tangled blonde curls. As we neared the corner, I slowed down for her to take the lead in which direction to turn. She turned left without hesitation.
In the yard on the corner, I spotted something bright pink, so I investigated. “Are these your socks?” I asked, and she nodded. I offered to pick her up, and by now she agreed willingly. She was shivering and I was glad to warm up a bit, too, holding her close. I tried asking her name again, and this time I understood: Maggie.
I kept watching for open doors, but all were closed up tightly at 8 on a Saturday. Finally, the house question got a vigorous head nod. Great! I walked up the driveway to get to the sidewalk and saw that the garage door was open. It was clear how she had escaped.
So we went to the front door and rang the bell. Shortly, a boy peered out and tried to open it. He’d unlocked the knob and deadbolt, but it seemed to be stuck up high. He ran back into the house, and, as I hoped, was calling his dad. Soon Scott opened the door. I recognized him from a recent neighborhood party.
“Where did you get her?” he exclaimed, shocked. I handed her to him, explaining that she’d been in front of my house but was able to guide me back to her house. “Which house is yours?” he asked, and was even more horrified when he realized how far she’d gone. “I’ll bet she was trying to go to my mom’s,” he said. Of course he was right; his parents lived four doors past us.
“We have all these locks up high on the doors just to avoid that very thing! Wait–is the garage door open?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I’m sure that’s how she got out.”
“Sure,” he said. “My wife is jogging and I guess she left the garage door open.”
So I left for them to fight it out when she returned. I hope they realized they were equally at fault.
I literally ran home as fast as I could in flip-flops, both to warm up and to tell my family where I’d disappeared to.
At church the next day, part of the lesson was about how we should be Jesus to other people. And it dawned on me that I’d had that opportunity and seized it. So many times I think, “Why didn’t I….?” when I’ve had opportunities to help, especially to help strangers. But this time the Spirit guided me to do just the right thing. Thank you, Lord, for guidance!
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:3