I Wish I Had Given Him Water

Once, there was a man on the other side of the bars of my school fence pleading for water.  It was around midday and a wicked sun was shining.

He had been walking past the school when he spotted the tap in the playground.  Holding out an empty plastic bottle, he begged my friends and I to fill it.

We simply stared.  He looked so perplexed and frustrated that we would not acknowledge him.  After a few awkward seconds, I walked away.

I gave myself an excuse to ignore his plea: What if he turned out to be some sort of criminal?  Fair concern; but the honest truth of the matter is that if he was dressed in suit and tie, if his clothes were slightly more expensive, or if he only looked a little cleaner and not sun-scorched and drenched in sweat, none of us would have hesitated to give him water.

As I relive this event that happened over a decade ago, I cannot help but wonder if humanity is raising unloving children.  In our righteous bid to protect them we’ve made children prejudiced, judgemental and untrusting.  Leading to prejudiced, judgemental and untrusting adults who struggle to maintain healthy relationships with other humans.

Anyway, maybe I’m wrong.   I just wish I had given him water.



  1. I wish you did. Things like this tend to bother me years after. Like the time I stoned my chickens just because they went out on Christmas day. I opened their cage to give them food and water but didn’t want them to go out on this particular day. Once the cage was opened they all came out and in frustration I stoned them as my aim was usually not so good anyway. On this day the stone got one of them and the chicken became lame. I cried and it spoilt my Christmas. I was 16 and it still pains me decades later.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We all have those moments we failed to act. I wish I had been kinder to those who had it rough at high school. I didn’t make it worse for them, but i had the power to make it much better for them seeing i was in the popular and smart clique. I wish i had done that for many and not just a select few. Years later, i realize how tough being in high school must have been for them when it was mostly roses for me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean. When I see some mates that I was indifferent to and did nothing about the hard time they had in school, I feel so ashamed.
      It’s amazing how often we think back to school and all the things we would have done differently. Sadly, most of the time, we still make the same mistakes today. I just wonder if when all is said and done and I’m retiring in the twilight of my years, I would feel the same about the way I’ve lived my adulthood, the way I feel now about school.

      Liked by 1 person

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