I like to help. I like to give people who seem lost, direction. I like to tap the shoulder of the person in front of me in line and tell them that the other check stand is open and they get to be first. I like to tuck in tags of those who have shirt tags in the "up" position. I like to guide colleagues when they ask me for assistance. That's just me.
One day my husband and I were sitting in church. We sat where we normally do, on the far left side. I don't even know what the other side of the worship center looks like since we have sat in the same section for 17 years.
Although we rarely see children in the adult service, this particular day, a couple sat in front of us with their very fidgety four year old. This never bothers me. I typically will smile at the child if they turn to look at me, and this day was no different.
I could tell that the parents were getting anxious because their boy seemed extra board and wasn't accepting the offering envelope and a pen as a sufficient boredom buster. It was obvious that he needed more.
The helper in me was busting out her skin. I searched my purse for something to keep the boy's attention averted away from the constant fidget and there they were. Neatly wrapped in clear plastic sat three, Jolly Rancher, hard candies, in flavors of watermelon, cherry, and green apple. I plucked the candy from my purse, tapped the mother on the shoulder, and revealed it to her. She smiled, unwrapped the pink sweet, and handed it to her son.
Like magic, the boy sat, wiggle free. The mother turned and thanked me with an obvious sense of relief.
About two minutes later, my helpful candy diversion turned into a hazard. The boy began to choke on the candy, and the mother had to help him muster the mass out from his mouth. Thankfully he survived, and avoided a 9-1-1 call for help in the middle of a church service.
Next time I'll not only consider the hazard of giving a four year old a piece of hard candy, but also consider stifling my need to help. I don't want anyone to die because of my zealous need to help. That's just plain wrong.