Last Wednesday when the temperature was boiling at 104 degrees Gretchen and I drove into Virginia Beach to have dinner. Afterwards we went over to the boardwalk on the main drag and walked along the beach together. It was really crowded and there were all kinds of people everywhere. Kids where running around digging holes and yelling at each other. People were swimming and surfing and getting knocked down by waves. You couldn’t get more than ten feet away from somebody and everywhere you looked something interesting was happening.

As we were walking through the crowd an exasperated looking woman in her 40’s ran up to us. “I need your help”, she said, and she pointed about 50 yards down the beach to a little boy in a blue life jacket running away from us. “My son is running away and I can’t catch up to him. Can you help me?” Now, it’s over 100 hundred degrees right now and I’m fat. There are literally hundreds of athletic people all around us, including several life guards and joggers, but this woman stopped me to ask for help. So, I handed Gretchen my shoes and took off down the beach. The little boy was running a little faster than I expected and I had to pick up the pace to catch up to him. I was running flat out and sweat was pouring off of me. As I was getting closer to him I realized that he wasn’t a little boy after all, he was almost as tall as I was. I grabbed him by the life jacket and we both fell down. As he turned around and started kicking me in the chest I saw that he had downs syndrome. I had my arms around him and we were both covered in sand and sweat and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. Having no idea what to do, I started patting him on the back and saying awkward things like “I’m not going to kidnap you” in an attempt to be soothing while his mother and Gretchen walked slowly down the beach towards us. Just as his mom was getting to us he started to calm down and we were just sitting there in the sand together panting.

After she thanked us and they walked off in the other direction we continued on our way down the beach as if nothing had happened.