I was appraising one side of a duplex. The tenants were an African-American family. The owner of the property told me the father of the family was a militant black activist who didn’t like white people.
I’m so white you couldn’t pick me out of a lineup with mayonnaise and flour.
Dad met me at the front door. Career people with different schedules, Mom was at work. There was a seven year old girl and a three year old boy playing in the living room. Just being kids.
I was professional, perhaps more guarded than usual. Though not exactly gracious or inviting, Dad was cooperative. I did my business. Then I thanked Dad and said goodbye to the kids.
The little boy, spirit as bright as innocence, took two steps toward me and held out his arms. “Can I have a hug?’ he asked.
I knelt to hug the little boy and when I stood, the boy’s father was smiling at us both.
I’ve never loved a stranger’s child more than in that moment, and never understood the difference more between what others might say and what you see for yourself.