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For any of us who watched the aftermath of last week’s bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, it was heartwrenching.  For those who experienced it, it was life-changing.  It also soon began a week of questions from little ones worried about their own safety.

I tried turning it off.

The news person in me wanted to know more, who the victims were, who the heroes are and how the city would recover.  Stories of hope that would restore our faith in the future of America.  I turned the coverage off when the kids walked through the room and tried to keep it off until after they were in bed.

I knew my kids would learn that something terrible had developed and would be peppering me with questions.  I remember being young when bad things happened, then looking to my father for reassurance.  Back then I convinced myself that if dad said things would be okay, somehow they would be, as if he had that kind of power.

Don’t all dads?

Yet, with today’s technology, restaurants with televisions suspended from ceilings, ipod touches and cellphones with instagram, we can’t keep children sheltered from everything.  We talked to the kids about the brutal fact that there are bad people in this world, though they are outnumbered by the good.  We told them what many parents did:  To look for the heroes in every situation, because they exist.  To focus on those who want to make things better.

I would like to think we all want that.

So after answering 300+ questions to reassure my boys over the past week, who knew that ordering a simple pizza would be the real answer to ease their worried minds.  We dined out last night, ordered the usual half sausage, half cheese medium pizza and breadsticks, then sat and waited.

And waited a little more.

Finally, our food arrived, only for us to find that the pizza was far from warm.  A baseball team banquet had taken over most of the place, and service had been slow, resulting in a lukewarm pie.  I politely asked if they would mind popping the pizza in the oven to warm up a few minutes and our energetic waitress was happy to oblige.

4 minutes later, she arrived back at our table with a steaming pizza and an apology, explaining that they were short-staffed and business got hectic for a while.

‘Not a big deal,’ I told her.

She disagreed, and offered to make it right on our bill.  I told her it wasn’t necessary, yet she later did so anyway.  My 8-year-old asked what ‘making it right’ on our bill meant.  I explained, and his eyes lit up as he excitedly told me:

‘Wow, you’re right, Mom!  There are good people in this world!  She’s one of those heroes.’

Maybe not on the same scale as those who saved lives and limbs in Boston last week, but to a 2nd-grader, she was the good he needed to witness to feel safe again.  To feel like there are people in this world who will be nice simply because it’s the right thing to do.

I paid the bill and left with appreciation for a waitress whose timing taught my son a greater lesson than she will ever realize…


And that heroes really do exist, on all levels.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/4564965424/”>atmtx</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>