It's hard to believe we saw him again after thinking we never would.
See it's been about 5 months, since we had our run in with Chester, not his real name of course, because you just never know who is reading blogs anymore, so let's just go with Chester for now.
We first met Chester on a brisk, grey morning in March this year. We were headed to pick my oldest daughter, Caitlyn, up from school and had arrived a little bit early. So we decided to park the car and just wait outside.
I picked up my phone and left her a message just in case we missed each other when school let out and the kids begin to pile into the parking lot. Sometimes you can get lost in a crowd of students because once school is out, it will be the fastest you ever see students move in your life.
So content that she had a message waiting from us, plus that missed call message, we knew somehow, some way we wouldn't miss each other.
So my youngest sits next to me in the front seat with her Nintendo DS propped up in her hands battling whatever unforeseen enemy needs to be defeated and saving the earth in the process, at least its what is sounds like to me.
I lean my head back on the head rest behind me, and put my sunglasses on so I can keep an eye on students walking by without them knowing I am looking at them and occasionally closing my eyes off and on.
That's when Chester showed up.
Kailee, my youngest daughter, looks up and points at him and tells me she doesn't think he belongs here.
If you could see what Chester was wearing, and what he looked like, he obviously didn't fit in.
He wasn't a student that would be attending this school. He looked much too old for that. It look like either time or the elements had taken a toll on him.
He looked at us as he passed by, and sat on the small concrete stone wall just outside the school.
Perhaps he was here to pick someone up or perhaps he was just waiting for a ride home.
He kept looking around rather nervously like he had done something criminal or was going to be in trouble if someone saw him here.
So there Kailee and I sat, just looking at Chester sitting on the stone wall just off to the left of my car. He stayed there for about 10 minutes and when the bell buzzed that signaled the end of another academic day, he ran off.
We tried to look back and find him but he managed to disappear behind some cars and we didn't see where he went.
We had gone back a few times before school ended and when I asked my daughter, Caitlyn about Chester, she didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
I guess that meant Chester didn't go to school or wasn't a parent of one of the students.
The odd thing was, the poor thing looked hungry and hadn't had a bite to eat in quite some time by the looks of him. We would have offered him something to eat, but he didn't look like he would trust anyone anyway.
You can imagine our surprise when Steve, Kailee and I went to pick Caitlyn up from school the night of her dance just yesterday. The dance had let out at 5pm, since it took place during the summer for her school club.
We had mentioned to Steve while we waited outside the school for Caitlyn about the odd run in with Chester earlier in the year and wondered if we would ever see him again.
Steve noticed Chester first. The minute Kailee and I saw him, we instantly recognized him. He hadn't changed much since we saw him last time. Same old appearance and he still seemed anxious and frightful at the same time.
This time, we had just finished shopping at Target and at least had some bags of cookies and snacks with us. So I took it upon myself to try and offer some food to Chester. Kailee even suggested that since he may be afraid of another bigger person trying to talk to him, perhaps she should try.
So I waited for Chester to stop and this time he sat beneath the trees instead of the stone wall. I couldn't have blamed him since it was unbearably hot that day. Poor thing, I bet he must at least be thirsty.
I walked to the back of the car and opened the trunk and reached in for a box of cookies I had just bought. I pretended I didn't see Chester but out of the corner of my eye, I could tell he was watching me. I couldn't fool him.
But he didn't leave. He just waited. Kailee went and sat on the wall and began to talk to him as I walked over to him. He didn't say anything. He just kept watching us. Perhaps the years had taught him to be wary of strangers or perhaps like most people, he was treated harshly by someone in his past.
You could just tell that by looking at him that we needed to gain his trust. We kept talking to him and asked him if he might be hungry.
He just gave us that blank stare where you can tell deep inside someone's mind that they are wondering whether to trust you or simply run away. At least he wasn't leaving. So we passed a few cookies to him.
We just laid them down and waited. We waited to see if we could be the people he begins to trust again. At that moment Caitlyn walked up and we had to motion to her to be quiet, because we were trying to help Chester. We didn't want him to be afraid. If the only thing we did that day was offer food to someone that was hungry, perhaps it would make a difference and he wouldn't be so afraid anymore.
Soon, Chester got up and walked over to where we laid the cookies and picked one up. He kept looking at us the whole time like he thought it was some kind of joke. We told him that if he wanted more, he could have the whole box. We just wanted to be his friends and at least give him something to eat if he was hungry.
He ate them all, and when he was eating the last one, a bunch of kids came running out of the school and Chester took off. Perhaps he thought he was going to be picked on or perhaps these were the kids that had made him distrust people.
Whatever the reason, Steve magically caught our encounter with Chester on film just in case something were to happen to him later.
As we left the parking lot, we realized that Chester had a home and we would be seeing him again real soon. I thought I would share that special moment when Chester was eating our cookies. Looking at it even now, brings a smile to my face and makes me realize that we can make a difference just by trying. Even little things make a difference in the life of someone when you show them you care.
What do you think?