Barney, not knowing I've seen it before, has just forwarded to me the email that's been doing the rounds for a few years now about the disabled boy, Shay, and the baseball game incident.
We've had one or two little Shay moments of our own. Probably anyone with a disabled child has.
I always thought if I ever wrote a book I'd dedicate it to the lovely, elderly man in Linton who, years ago, took the trouble to come over to our table as I waited for Barney and four-year-old Buster to return from the toilets. The pub we were in, empty when we arrived, was by now heaving with blue rinse ladies trailing expensive scents and self-important attitudes, and I'd been feeling stressed about Buster in this company and the real possibility of a glass going flying or the table over-turning or sausage fat ending up on an alien tweed coat.
Anyway this gentleman came across. 'Do you mind me asking how old your little boy is?' he started, and then went on to detail quietly how much he'd enjoyed seeing Buster eating his meal (he's always eaten with gusto), how well-behaved he'd been and how the whole experience had 'made his day'. It was unfortunate that, recognising this as an unexpected act of kindness, I then found myself unable to speak for a few minutes and I hope he realised that what I really wanted to do, rather than just force out a choked 'thank you', was to kiss him.
It's not just adults tho'. I've probably mentioned before that Buster's Junior School teacher told us about him being allowed, in a one-off inter-school soccer match, to take a penalty. Normally Buster wouldn't even be invited to play football due to his slowness and lack of skill. Anyway, he took the penalty and when he scored, both sides - his schoolfriends and those who didn't know him from Adam - cheered. Aw.
There are probably lots of these tiny incidents happening every day. Lovely things that strangers do through an instinct to help or support or something. It's not linked to class or intelligence or age. It just is. And when you come across it, it's heartwarming.