Community in Action

Yesterday, I took Jada to not one but two neighborhood parties. Yes, even 90+ degree heat doesn't deter me from crashing in on free events. Sure enough, upon arrival at the first - a grand re-opening for a credit union at 50th and Baltimore - Jada had scored a face-painting and a balloon giraffe. Nice vibe at this corner, between the historic architecture, new retail, and recently spruced up park and play equipment.

From there, we headed to the five-year anniversary celebration for Park West, the shopping complex at 52nd and Jefferson. There, I heard inspiring and positive words from Jim Burnett, the executive director of the West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution, which made the complex and celebration possible, and from Councilman Curtis Jones, whose district the complex resides in.

With those moving words about community in action still ringing in our ears, I strapped Jada into the back seat of my bike and we headed home. But we got not one block from the complex when, while zipping by a line of cars waiting at a red light at a busy intersection, Jada lost grip of her balloon giraffe. As she howled, the giraffe floated helplessly up the street against traffic. I make an abrupt U-turn and tried to trace its flight pattern, presuming that at any moment, it would roll under the wheels of a car and be reduced to nothing.

A young man came to our rescue. He got out of his car, moving with catlike quickness, and putting a hand up to a car that was getting ready to move again now that the light had turned green. He secured the giraffe and handed it to Jada. If this is possible, I could hear the smiles of approval from everyone within viewing distance of this moment.

Jada and I thanked him profusely for his random act of kindness, and then pedaled away. Today, there was a lot of talk about community in action, and at least two really good events that put that into action, but I will remember this young man's brave act as the best example of the day.

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