Every once in a while my church goes to feed dinner to the homeless in Chinatown. I usually go there straight after work. It had been kind of chilly recently, and I figured since I’m going to be out at night, it might be a good idea to wear long pants instead of shorts. Shorts are our normal attire at work, so the kids at school aren’t used to seeing me in long pants.
“You look funny,” they said. “Why are you wearing long pants?”
I explained to them that I was going with my church to feed the homeless.
One girl ran up to me and hugged me.
“Don’t go!” she said, clinging to me. “I don’t want you to go!”
I asked her why, and she said, “If you go, you’re not going to come back!”
“Hey,” I said, “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. We do it all the time. I’ll come back tomorrow, okay?”
But she wasn’t buying it. “You’re going to get all dirty and be in the mud and then you’re not going to come back! Don’t go!” she said, still hanging on to me. She seemed legitimately worried.
I asked her, “Why do you think I wouldn’t come back?”
“You said you’re going to be homeless,” she said.
“I said I’m going to feed the homeless, not be homeless.”
“…Oh!” she said.
I thank God for the kids. My job is to look out for them, and I get paid for doing that. But they also look out for me, and they don’t have to do that at all. They do so just because they want to.