Two weeks ago, a four year-old boy riding a scooter in his apartment complex was tragically hit and killed by an adult driver turning into the neighborhood. Police indicated that the driver was obeying all laws and that this was truly an accident. My wife and I were invited by the local police chaplain to an event he organized and was hosting last night at the police station for members of the apartment complex community hurting from what they witnessed. We were invited along with other mental health providers and local pastors to be present to care for and resource those needing care.
The very first person we met was a sixth grade girl, named Haley, along with her mom. Haley shared that she goes to a local middle school and was a student leader at the same elementary school where our daughters attend. As we talked together, she shared the story of how she and her friend brought hot chocolate, a blanket, and some treats to the older siblings while the first responders tended to the driver, parents, and the little boy who was struck that night.
As the evening program began, the police chaplain went out of his way to recognize Haley’s healing hands noting that she made her decisions on her own initiative, along with two other friends. The chaplain pointed out that amidst the nightmare that he was ministering in, Haley brought hope and was in fact the beginning of his own healing from this traumatic experience. Another man from the neighborhood also pointed out Haley with tears in his eyes. He said he didn’t know what to do or how to help the night of the tragedy (also a normal response for someone experiencing trauma), but Haley’s modeling and care spoke to him as he watched from afar. He felt a sense of care and comfort through her act of kindness.
With so much darkness and discouragement flooding our minds and weighing on our hearts these days, I choose to remember Haley. I want to be like her, an 11 year-old girl, who in the midst of terrible tragedy didn’t ask permission to help. She simply saw her neighbors hurting around her and courageously stepped forward to provide comfort, care, and embody tangible hope. We have heard that Haley has had her own loss in her story. It seems that when we have received comfort ourselves in times of our own pain, we tend to know how important those moments are for others. Thank you Haley for representing the best of humanity and for reminding us that we can and need to step forward to those hurting around us. Find a place to share a little hope today.
Written by Jeff & Terra Mattson, Co-Founders and Owners of Living Wholehearted, LLC.