This morning at the Sheetz in Woodstock, Virginia, I saw the real heart of a Virginia State Police Trooper. I was waiting my turn near the middle of a long line as a tall Trooper paid for his items. Standing near me, a woman and a young man, he with special needs, watched the Trooper closely. “Go on, it’s OK,” the woman said. The young man, maybe in his early twenties and presumably her son, shyly and slowly approached. “Go on,” she pressed. “Say hello.” Eventually, the young man arrived at the Trooper’s side at the register. “Hello!” The young man said. “How are you?”
The Trooper asked. By now, most of us still in line were watching this marvelous meet-and-greet play out. The young man told the Trooper how nice he looked and how wonderful it was to meet him. The Trooper returned the compliments. “Where do you live?” The young man asked. The Trooper answered kindly, respectfully. They chatted for a moment and the Trooper gave him a special badge from his pocket. Then the young man asked, “Can I have a hug?” “Of course,” the Trooper replied, and he put his long arm around him. It was such a sweet and simple moment, I thought every customer in the audience might applaud. But what moved me the most was that the Trooper didn’t talk down, belittle, or patronize. The Trooper didn’t treat the young man as if he had special needs. He treated him as if he was special. Period. I wish I’d gotten a photo of the moment, or at least the Trooper, but I did get this quick pic of his cruiser in the parking lot. May we all treat others like this Virginia State Trooper. With kindness, respect, and as special. Period.
Credit: Jason F. Wright