Crossing the Street

In a fit of stereotypicality, Mark decided he would help an old man across the road.

On his way to a Scout meeting, Mark wore his beige uniform and wished it wasn’t so hot that he couldn’t wear a jacket to hide it. Nearing the crosswalk, Mark saw the old man just stepping down, cane first, cars zooming by in front of him, and all worries of appearance left his mind. He ran the last few metres, pressed the button to activate the light, and took the man by his elbow.

“What are you doing, punk! Let me go!” The old man shouted.

“I’m just helping you across, sir. The cars are dangerous.”

“You young punks think you can steal from an old man? Have at ye,” the man wrenched free from Mark, raising his cane like an epee. He took a quick jab forward, thumping Mark on the chest.

Mark grabbed the end of the cane, pushed it down, and took the old man’s arm again, dragging him forward.

“I’m not going to rob you. I’m just keeping you from getting hit by a car. There’s been a rash of accidents lately, and I wanted you to survive this crossing. It’s my good deed for the day. See? I’m in Scouts.” He pointed to the badge on his shirt sleeve.

“Yeah, fine, what have you,” the old man grumbled, relenting.

The old grump walked slowly; whether it was intentional or necessary, Mark didn’t know, and didn’t care. He concentrated on getting to the other side. The drivers of the stopped cars sat laughing at his ordeal.

Finally they reached the sidewalk, and Mark let the old man go. “You’re welcome,” he harrumphed, and walked away.

The old man stood for a few minutes, watching the boy leave. “Thank you,” he finally said, and turned the other way.

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