“Locked Out!” Friend, May 2021
Emma jumped over the cracks in the stone sidewalk. It was a bright, sunny day. She and Mama were walking to the grocery store.
“Mama, how far away is the sun?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” Mama said.
Emma squinted up at the sky. “Do you think a rocket will ever go to the sun? Do you think it’s hotter than lightning? Do you think …”
Mama laughed. “Your questions are getting harder and harder!”
Emma laughed too. She had lots of questions. Mama always did her best to answer them. That was one reason why Emma liked going on walks with Mama.
Emma looked around her neighborhood. Taxis drove down the stone street. People rode by on bikes. Lots of people were out walking too.
Then Emma looked across the street. A little girl was sitting on the steps outside an apartment building. It looked like she was crying.
Emma slowed down. Should she stop to help? Maybe the girl wanted to be left alone. Sometimes Emma wanted to be left alone when she was sad.
Emma stopped walking. Most of the time Emma wanted someone to talk to when she needed help. And maybe she could help!
She grabbed Mama’s hand. “Look, Mama. I think that girl needs some help.”
Mama looked across the street. “I think you’re right.”
Emma held Mama’s hand as they crossed the street. She walked up the steps to where the girl was sitting.
“Hi,” Emma said. “Do you need help?”
The little girl sniffed and looked up at them. Her arms were wrapped around her knees, and her eyes were red and puffy.
“I … I’m locked out of my apartment.” She took a deep breath. Her voice was shaky and quiet. Emma knelt down next to her to hear her better.
“I can’t read,” the girl said. “I don’t know what button to push to get back in.”
Emma looked at the wall outside the apartment building. There were lots of little buttons. Each button had a name on it. Next to the buttons was a speaker.
“What’s your last name?” Emma asked.
“Schneider,” the little girl said.
Mama read through all the buttons until she found one that said “Schneider.” She pushed it.
The button made a loud sound. Then a voice crackled through the speaker.
“This is the Schneiders. How may I help you?”
Mama spoke into the speaker. “Hi! My daughter and I are outside with a little girl who says she got locked out.”
The girl stood up fast and ran over to the speaker. “Mama,” she said, “I couldn’t read the button to get back in, and these people helped me!”
The voice on the speaker sounded surprised. “Leni! I thought you were in your room! Don’t worry. I’m coming down there right now.”
After a few seconds, a lady came running outside. The girl ran up and gave her a hug.
The lady turned to Emma. “Thank you for helping my little Leni!”
Emma smiled. “It was easy to help.”
They waved goodbye and walked back down the stairs. Emma’s whole body felt warm. She thought of one more question for Mama.
“Helping that girl was easy. Why do I feel so happy about it?”
Mama squeezed Emma’s hand. “That’s the Holy Ghost telling you that you made a good choice.”
Emma smiled. She was glad she stopped to help.