September 22, 2011

Papa Joe

Hey guys! I want to say hi to all the readers who hopped over from TexaGermaNadian, FTLOB or anywhere else you might have made your way here.

Obviously this is a new blog, just barely starting out, so thanks for taking the time to check out
Nobody Need Wait. I know that sometimes having yet another blog to follow can be overwhelming. There are so many good ones out there you already like and follow. 

But the good thing about NNW is that you only have to read. Enjoy the stories, share them if you like, and and that's it. I love comments, and do feel free to comment away, but don't feel like you have to actively participate. By just reading the stories, you are doing enough. You are planting the seed for good things to happen. So sit back, enjoy a simple, heart-warming story, and then be on your way making your day the best that it can be.


A few years back I worked for a local children's shelter. A lifetime ago, people might have referred to it as an orphanage, but it was so much more than that. It was a refuge for neglected and abused children. It was a new start for them and a chance at a healthy childhood.

As you can imagine, there were so many heart-breaking stories that came from my time working there. But there were also stories that lifted spirits and are sure to stay with me forever.

One in particular always brings a tear to my eye. It was about a boy named Manny*.  You see, most children at the shelter were younger. Some were just babies. But now and again there would be older kids that were brought there. Manny  was already well into Elementary school and had been in the shelter for a some time now. Not longer than the state said was ok, but still longer than any seven year old wants to be there.

While the children were waiting to be placed or returned to their homes, the workers and volunteers at the shelter did everything in their power to make the kiddos feel at home. There were lots of toys and games and activities and field trips. And there was a big backyard with a track to ride bikes on. Which, as you can imagine, was most of the kids' favorite thing to do.

An older man, that went by the name Papa Joe*, had volunteered there for years. His job was to come in fix up all the bikes that needed fixing. Although it didn't stop there. Papa Joe would help the kids and even teach them how to ride bikes.

That is what he did with Manny. He had never ridden or owned a bike, so he was nervous at first. But Papa Joe soon had him tooting around the backyard like a pro. You could tell they were both so proud of what they had accomplished.

The day came when Manny was being placed with a foster family, or maybe returned to his home, I can't remember. But I do remember hearing that Manny was crying when he left, something unusual for kids going 'home'. The helpers asked what was wrong, and Manny said "I wish Papa Joe was here. I want to say bye to him and to thank him for teaching me how to ride a bike. Please tell him I say 'thank you'".

Not a dry eye was left in the room. Manny left that day, and the message was passed on to Papa Joe. He had to have known already all he had done for so many kids, but this one, small compliment, must have meant so much to him.

Papa Joe didn't change the world. But he meant the world to Manny.

*Names and locations have been changed to protect the identities due the sensitive nature of the story

Submitted by Anonymous.

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