Josh picked me up from the train station after work, and as we were on our way to do some errands, we passed a little girl about nine walking down the side of the road. In the rain. Without a coat. Crying.
Of course Josh stopped the truck, and I got out to ask her if she was lost or needed help. It took a minute to get her to tell me what was wrong, and as it turns out she was running from her dad who was not far behind in the car. He would stop, get out, talk to her, and she would run off. He would jump back in the car, catch up, get out, talk to her, and she would run off. I don't know how long this had been going on. And it was all because she didn't want to go to a church club. This poor little girl was so upset because there is another girl there who is mean to her and to her friends. She was telling me how this mean girl hurts her feelings when her dad came up again and told her she didn't have to go. "Please get in the car, and we'll go home." Aside from her hysterics, things seemed to be on the up and up. And it was kind of awkward, and not my place, to try to handle the situation with her actual parent there, so I said goodbye and got back in my truck. As we were pulling away, I saw her running up the street again. *Sigh* Since her dad was there and handling the situation (well, kind of) and it wasn't anything that needed outside intervention, we didn't follow.
So, this kind of broke my heart on a few levels. First, it's going to be a while before I get that sad, sad image of the forlorn, wet child out of my head. Second, she was just so beside herself that she wouldn't even calm down when her dad suggested they go home. The poor thing was pretty traumatized over something. Third, the mean kids were at the church! There's nothing worse than mean church girls. Church. Where you're supposed to feel safe and loved and accepted.
I wish there was more that I could do for her.