A couple of months ago, I went to an outdoor movie in my neighborhood. I got talking to a tall man sitting in front of me. He was with his 8 year old daughter.
He introduced me to Miracle, his little girl.
“This is my daughter, Miracle,” he said. “I’m acting as both her father and her mother because her mother was killed last spring.”
A beautiful little girl, Miracle was full of life and energy. She was happy to talk to me.
She told me that she goes to a girls’ charter school in the South Bronx. She told me that at her school, everyone takes ballet classes and violin lessons. But, when I asked her whether she has ever been to a ballet, she said no.
The Possibility of Doing Something Nice
During the movie, I got to thinking.
It struck me that it was unlikely that her father would be able to afford tickets to the ballet or concerts, but that I could easily get tickets and take her to a performance. Why not talk to her father about it after the movie was over.
But the movie was long and when it was over Miracle and her dad had gone. So I never had a chance to explore that possibility.
I Couldn’t Shake the Idea
I thought I’d just let it go, but I haven’t been able to shake the idea that I might make a difference in the life of a special little girl.
So last week, I called the director of the Bronx Documentary Center to see if, by any chance, he knew the man and his daughter. “Yes,” he said, “Jeff walks by the Center quite often.”
I explained my interest in taking Miracle to the ballet and he said that he would feel Jeff out the next time he saw him.
It didn’t take long.
Two days later I got a text with Jeff’s phone number and a message that he would be willing to let me take his daughter, Miracle, to the ballet.
And now, I find myself realizing the responsibility I have taken on.
Bridging the Gap
What do I need to think about to be sure to make the experience a good one for Miracle?
- What sensitivities will I need to fully respect the way Miracle and Jeff live?
- How can I make her comfortable going off with me… a total stranger?
- Should I meet them somewhere else, or invite them here?
The big question is this:
When the inequalities of socio-economic standing are so very big, how can we bridge the differences without making anyone feel uncomfortable?
Next week I’ll get in touch with Jeff to find out what times would work and how best to arrange it. But I would appreciate any suggestions you might have as I head down this path.
What would you do?
Think of How You Would Bridge the Gap
If you were to plan something with someone who was richer or poorer or of a different cultural class, what are the things you’d think about doing to make sure everyone felt respected?
Please do share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.