A few days ago I was waiting to be served at my favourite coffee shop in Hexham. Just in front of me a young lad, perhaps twelve or thirteen was ordering two drinks. Since it was mid-morning on a school day I wondered why he was there. I decided that he must be bunking off from school and had a few moments of silent tut-tutting to myself bemoaning the state of modern youth. He got his order and went off to the front of the cafe.
I took my welcome cappuccino and moved to the back of the cafe to find an empty table. So I could enjoy the drink and take the opportunity to catch up with a bit of work.
I’d been working for a few minutes when I looked up to see the same lad pushing a woman (his mother I assume) in a wheelchair towards the disabled toilet a short distance from where I was sitting. She looked quite fragile, trembling slightly, he manoeuvred her towards the door, wheeled her in, closing the door behind them. A few minutes later they emerged, as she passed she looked over at me and smiled, I smiled back feeling rather sheepish about misjudging her son.
It’s amazing to realise how a change of perspective can completely change the way you think and feel about things. In an instant, I went from grumbling about truancy to admiration for the care and attention of this young man for his mum.
It’s also amazing (and humbling) to realise just how many times I can jump to the wrong conclusions about people.