Have you ever had one of those days where you deeply appreciate being in the right place at the right time?
While I was teaching a photography lesson in an open coffee shop at a mall I noticed a sweet little girl, about two years old, wandering around looking distressed and starting to cry.
Immediately I knew she was lost and badly frightened, so I called her over and did my best to soothe her while asking basic questions. She couldn't remember what her parents were wearing, but when I asked if they wore glasses like I did she said her mommy did but her daddy didn't.
With that I excused myself from my student and took her hand so we could check a couple of nearby shops to see if they might be there. After looking around one of the larger stores and going back into the mall I saw a man with another young girl walking quickly toward us, and my little charge went straight to them, so I knew we'd found her family.
"That's my daughter," the man said with a big smile, and everyone was relieved. I can imagine what was going through that guy's mind when he spotted a big white guy holding his kid's hand and leading her through the mall, and if this had happened in North America I'd probably have been tazed and arrested. My student, bless her heart, was watching the whole time, ready to jump to my defence if the parents went into freak out mode.
But they didn't and he simply whisked her away, while I was just thankful it hadn't taken long to reunite them. It didn't occur to me at that moment that I should have said something, but I got the feeling the father knew he'd screwed up. After returning to the coffee shop it hit me how precarious the situation had been; the mall was full of people. I just looked at my student and said, "I'm glad we found her, not some creep who could have grabbed her and run off."
It's not every day you get to be a guardian angel, but this day I'm grateful I was there.