This week, you were so excited for your first “real” cricket match. It was riveting for a few reasons: you love cricket, you were ecstatic to make the team, and it was your first “real” game, having moved on from mini-cricket matches that you played in grades one and two. Also, it was an away match, which means you 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?).
At around midday that day, you called me from school. My first words, as with every time I hear your or your teacher’s voices, were “What’s wrong?” You calmly said that you didn’t have the required long white socks for the match, and that you wouldn’t be able to play the match without them.
I didn’t even know you needed them, which made me feel even worse than not being able to leave work, get to a shop in time, and get him to the match in time. Anyway, I started to hustle – WhatsApped a few people for help unsuccessfully, but eventually someone from our grade three class said she had a spare pair, and would give them to you (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 you could get to your 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 you 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 your teachers called me to say that you were going to aftercare, because you didn’t have the right socks. Now, I know rules are rules are rules are rules, but I was hoping they would give you – and me – a break since it was our first rodeo.
Anyway, I spoke to you and you were inconsolable, which I completely understood, and from my office in Sandton, many kilometres away from you, I felt sad for you, and so helpless.
I called you dad because I knew he would have some practical ideas, 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 how sad you were, decided to take you to Sportsman’s Warehouse, buy the required socks (they aren’t sold at the school uniform shop), and then drop you off at the match. You were going to be late, but you were going to be happy.
I was very grateful for this incredible act of kindness.
That night, I emailed your principal to say a huge thanks, and asked how much I owed her for the socks. She replied the next morning, saying that seeing your delighted face was all the payment she needed.
And that, Max, is the epitome of benevolence. A bigg’ish act, with a massive return.
Though you didn’t get to bat that afternoon, you soared on the field. In your long white socks. And with your mom cheering you from her heart.
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