This I Believe

Megan - Moorpark, California
Entered on April 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in humbleness.My first job was on a farm that had pony rides. They were every child’s favorite activity and were sometimes risky. I remember that before I could work with the ponies, I had to receive vigorous instruction on the nuances in their body language, how to load and unload children, and how to act around them. I learned that ponies, in contrast to most horses, are very high strung and have bad temperaments. I was taught that the key to the pony rides was controlling their temper so the children would have safe rides.

One Saturday, another worker and I were placed in charge of pony rides for a two-hour block. This was the worst job to be given because Saturdays were always the busiest days. This specific Saturday, however, I had already spent an hour working with the ponies without an incident. I was half way done, preparing myself to make it through another busy hour. My partner and I loaded the five kids and began another unmemorable ride. I remember was walking alongside a pony named Candy, the one that usually caused problems first. I remember a couple minutes into the ride my peripheral vision locked on a child, still strapped in his saddle, begin sliding sideways. By the time I whipped my head around, the boy had slid almost one hundred and eighty degrees—almost directly beneath the pony. It took only half a second for the pony to react: it started bucking and stamping; its hooves within inches of the child’s head.

Taken by surprise, but certain I needed to take control of the situation, I sprinted over and grabbed the upside down boy. It was impossible to get his legs out of the saddle he was tied to, so I held onto him for dear life while the pony continued to throw a tantrum. We struggled like that until about half the farm leapt into the ring and took control.

Situations like this are great reminders to me. It is pretty easy for me to do the right thing when someone is in danger. I was compelled to save the boy immediately. I think it is some innate part of human behavior to do the right thing when it is absolutely necessary. However, one of my biggest weaknesses in day to day life is apathy. When things are gray, I tend to value my happiness over any one else. I become complacent when events do not directly impact me. I love situations like these because they show me the joy in humbleness; the joy thinking solely about someone other than myself. It was refreshing that my concern for the boy’s safety made me completely disregard my own feelings. These moments remind me that doing the right thing is important regardless of the decision, of whose watching, of what the consequences are, of my own comfort.