Saturday, July 13, 2013


This evening I took M and Miss J to the pool to cool off from a sticky July day.  Much of the time was spent in the main pool until Miss J said that she would like to go on the drop slide and M said he wanted to watch her.We made our way out of the main pool and over to the slides.

The drop slide consist of a short, near vertical slide that ends several feet above the water's surface, plunging the rider into the water below. Being such a hot evening, the pool was busy this evening and a line, deep with waiting children, had formed at the drop slide.

We noticed a young man, perhaps in his late teens or early twenties, sitting at the top of the slide, waiting to take his turn.  He sat, hesitating, to take the plunge.  He glided his hands along the sides of the slide.  He watched the water swirling around him.  He peered over the edge to the water below but he did not go down.

It was apparent that he had some sort of special needs.  Autism, perhaps?  As he sat, his father called to him from the side of the pool, coaxing him to take his turn.

The young man continued to sit and the line of people waiting behind him continued to grow.

Finally he lost his nerve.  He pulled himself awkwardly to a stand and the line of people behind him shifted and shuffled out the way so he could make his way back down the stairs.

Once at the bottom, he stood by the edge of the pool watching as one person after another dropped into the water with a splash.  He watched, and then, he climbed the stairs a second time.

When his turn arrived, he seated himself again in the chute.  Like the previous time, he sat.
And sat.
And sat.
Once again the line grew longer and somewhat impatient.  The lifeguards seems a bit uncertain of what to do next.  His father called out to him again to go.

He continued to sit.

The father called out again, growing impatient and told his son to either go or move out of the way so the rest of the people could go.  Once again, the young man pulled his body out of the chute and off the slide and made his way down the stairs.

He stepped off the last step, and just as before, stayed at the water's edge to watch one person after another drop into the pool.  And just as before, he made his way up the stairs for a third time.

This time I could see the slightest hint of exasperation on the father's face.  I saw the annoyed looks from some of the people waiting in the line, knowing that yet again, their turn would be delayed.

Again the time came for the young man to attempt the slide.  Again he sat.

And then, from the people waiting in the line:
"Come on!
You can do it!
You can do it!"
"You'll be okay!"

A small gathering of people had now assembled around the pool, everyone wondering if this young man would ever get up the nerve to tackle the drop slide.  The crowd shouted to him too, "You can do it!" Some people clapped and some people cheered.  The lifeguard gave him a thumbs up.  

And finally..he did it.  The place erupted loudly with cheers and applause.  The young man emerged from under the water beaming. His father, still standing at the edge of the pool, greeted him with a high five.  I watched many of the people who had been stuck waiting in line behind him come up to him with congratulations and pats on the back.

Together and with loud exuberance, we all shared the joy of this young man's acheivement. I looked at M, who was clapping wildly and Miss J, who was cheering loudly and was grateful for them to witness the amazing good that exists in this world. 

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