While sitting in McDonald’s today with my mother and one year old son, we were approached by an elderly man. Having someone come over to talk to Alex is nothing new: he’s a sweet guy with a charming smile that he spreads around indiscriminately. But the man’s reaction was novel.
“You have such a sweet smile, you need this.” He handed a Alex a little carved wooden elephant with tiny wheels. As a mother I am always suspicious of people giving things to my baby, but this seemed harmless. We thanked the man and he nodded before he returned to the booth. Alex played happily with the toy. A few minutes later the man approached another table with a little boy probably about 2 years old.
“Would you mind if I give him this?” he asked the mother before offering the boy a carved wooden car.
Again the man returned to his seat and went back to eating his chicken nuggets. Before we left, my mother asked him if he had made the toy himself. He smiled.
“Yes, ma’am. I find it helps me pass the evenings. I don’t have any little ones in my life, but I want someone to have them. Hope it makes him happy.”
I’m a cynic, to say the least, but that almost made me tear up. And so I am going to bed tonight just a bit happier about the world knowing that there is a old man in my town who is tonight whittling little wooden wheeled toys to give to children in the hope that it will make them happy.