Two years ago in downtown Denver, my friend, Scott, and I saw
something tiny and insignificant that changed the world, but no
one else even seemed to notice.
It was one of those beautiful Denver days. Crystal clear, no
humidity, not a cloud in the sky. We decided to walk the ten
blocks to an outdoor restaurant rather than take the shuttle bus
that runs up and down the Sixteenth Street Mall. The restaurant,
in the shape of a baseball diamond, was called The Blake Street
Baseball Club. The tables were set appropriately on the grass
infield. Many Colorful pennants and flags hung limply overhead.
As we sat outside, the sun continued to beat down on us and it
became increasingly hot. There wasn't a hint of a breeze, and
heat radiated up from the tabletop. Nothing moved, except the
waiters, of course. And they didn't move very fast either.
After lunch, Scott and I started to walk back up the mall. We both
noticed a mother and her young daughter walking out of a card
shop toward the street. She was holding her daughter by the hand
while reading a greeting card. It was immediately apparent to us
that she was so engrossed in the card that she did not notice a
shuttle bus moving toward her at a good clip. She and her daughter
were one step away from disaster when Scott started to yell.
He hadn't even gotten a word out when a breeze blew the card out
of her hand and over her shoulder. She spun around and grabbed
at the card, nearly knocking her daughter over. By the time she
picked up the card from the ground and turned back around to
cross the street, the shuttle bus had whizzed by her. She never
even knew what almost happened.
To this day, two things continue to perplex me about this event:
Where did that one spurt of wind come from to blow the card out
of that young mother's hand? There had not been a whisper of
wind at lunch or during our long walk back up the mall. Secondly,
if Scott had been able to get his words out, the young mother
might have looked up at us as they continued to walk into the bus.
It was the wind that made her turn back to the card -- in the one
direction that saved her life and that of her daughter. The passing
bus did not create the wind. On the contrary, the wind came from
the opposite direction. As we continued back to work, I realize
difference between life and death can very well be just a little thing.