Helpless

Sami - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on March 5, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I stared with attention at the little girl. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t have what I had. She was so small and fragile. I saw her from across the street as I was walking. She was wearing a dainty yellow dress with stains all over it. She was picking up trash on the hard cement of the sidewalk.

Her fragile nature did not attract the eyes of many, as I thought it would. I was getting closer to her. I squinted at her tiny body kicking at pigeons. The wind blew her dress back and forth. As I looked closer, I saw a small bowl by her feet filled with a few coins. An older woman came out from the nearest building, kissed the girl, and started crying. “Why won’t anyone help me and my baby? I want to feed my baby.” The small girl just sat in her mother’s arms, oblivious to what was going on around her. Soon, though, she noticed her mother’s anger and began to tear. But people on the streets of Chicago kept walking, barely noticing the weeping women at their feet.

I was now only a foot away from the mother and daughter. I didn’t want to be just another passerby, a casual observer, an onlooker, or a bystander. Why didn’t this girl have any of the luxuries I had? She didn’t have a home or food to eat, and her mother was on her knees asking for help from anyone. I dug into my pockets for spare change, my feeble attempt to help. I slowly stuck my arm out and placed a dollar in quarters in the bowl next to the child’s side. As I stepped back to continue my walk towards the train station on my way home, the mother looked up and whispered, “Thank you.” But as soon as I turned away to continue walking, I heard her cries for help again. I knew my diminutive amount of pocket change wouldn’t make her need for food and help go away. But I was still secretly hoping it would.

I walked into a McDonalds for a drink. I stared out the window back at the woman and her child. Her daughter had now left her mother’s arms and was wandering around. I looked back into my wallet. I didn’t know why this woman and her child were on the streets and I didn’t know why nobody would help them. I believe that helpless people in dire situations deserve some care and aid. Nobody deserves to be treated as this woman was. People walked by her and ignored her existence. I purchased a burger, some chicken nuggets, and an order of fries, all to go. I carried the large bag over to where they were sitting on the corner of the intersection. I placed the bag in front of the little girl and she was quick to grab it. I smiled and turned away.