"Can I have a hug?"

I had to go to the grocery store. While I was there at the complex, I called my daughter to ask if she wanted anything from there. She said, if I can, to get some food from ‘Poquito Mas’ in that same shopping complex. I started to walk in front of other stores while looking for it and she was still on the phone as I was walking. While talking to her, I saw this innocent looking boy of 14 or 15 years of age walking towards me in a white shirt and holding a small bag. Then he turned around and started following me. I stopped and looked at him. He was sort of mumbling and I couldn’t understand what he said. His face was so lost and he looked so sad. He came closer and just stood there looking straight into my eyes without even a blink. I said, “Are you lost? I am sorry I couldn’t hear you. What were you saying?” Then he said, “Can I have a hug?” with a really innocent face.

Although it was only a few seconds, still, convoluted part of my brain started to have a debate with the rational part. This is how the deliberation went in my mind:

What if this kid is lying and what if I give him a hug and he turned out to be a pervert? What if this kid is not lost! Is he really lost? He did not seem normal.  His face does look very innocent. etc…etc…]

Finally, the rational part of my brain won the debate. I felt so bad. I said, sure and I gave him a hug.  Then I asked him again “Are you lost?” 

He said, “my mom… my mom…will be… uhmmm…here somewhere…hmmm…to pick me up…” and started to look towards the parking lot. I was also looking around to see if anyone is looking for him. Suddenly he started saying “my mom… my mom” with such an enthusiasm and ran towards a car that was coming closer. I waited until he sat in the car and made sure the ‘mom’ was the one he was looking for. It appears to be his mom all right.

It is sad that most people, in general, are good. But the social conditions and the circumstances make it harder to help people in need. May it be for a dollar or a HUG! Isn’t it?

I don’t think I can forget his face ever. I truly wish him all the best in life.