About two months ago I was in Target, running down the list of items that I needed, plus grabbing all of the other items that weren’t on my list…come on, I know you can’t walk through Target and get out of there with ONLY the things on your list, I honestly think it’s impossible.
A little boy caught my eye as he ran frantically down the aisle across from where I was standing; he went by a couple more times. I kept my eye on him as I rounded the corner. He locked eyes with me and hesitated for a moment, then ran up to me.
“I can’t find my mom,” he said in utter panic.
I bend down and tell him it’s OK and ask him what mom looks like. He describes her and I take his hand as we walk down a couple aisles. Unable to find her immediately, we walk to the front of the store where they are able to alert mom over the intercom.
Mom is up front within seconds. I watch as mom and son reunite, for those of you who have children and have lost sight of them, even for a brief second, you know that for that time they are out of sight…it can seem like an eternity.
Tears are flowing now. The little boy looks up at mom and says, “I’m sorry, I know I’m not suppose to talk to strangers…but she has a Y on her shirt, and they’re good people.”
It hits me as he looks up at me and points, I look down, and I see that I still have my name tag on.
………amazing, isn’t it? The power that one symbol…one letter….can represent. To that child, the Y logo meant safety. I don’t know this family’s specific ties to the Y, but it was clear, that at some point in this childs life, he had an experience at the Y. An experience that in this scary situation, allowed him, a 5-year-old, to make the decision to trust me, based on the fact that I wore the symbol of a place that he knew was safe.
Every time I put on my name tag I am reminded of this story. I am reminded of the power that it holds. Behind our logo, behind the badges we wear, we hold this amazing responsibility and honor, to live out what our organization stands for and means to our community every moment of everyday.
This story is one that I was able to experience first hand, but the ending of this story is not about what I did. It is in fact, the product of the culture the Y has worked to build and create on a daily basis through every interaction, question answered, service offered, and trust you built with our members and the community as a whole.