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As she weaved her way through the crowded streets, she kept her eyes on the foot path ahead, intent on getting to the bus terminus before the last bus left. She felt annoyed at the people strolling leisurely and those locked in conversation while occupying the whole pavement.
At one point, she had to dodge the elbow of a ‘stroller’ clapping his hands as he threw his head back and laughed loudly at a joke. She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Idlers!” she muttered under her breath as she tripled her steps to walk past the young man and his friends.
Just when she had cleared another stretch of slow-walking ‘idlers’, she caught a glimpse of another young man skillfully strumming a beautiful tune from a guitar. He was obviously visually impaired as his eyes were unusually sunken and his eyelids were scrunched together, leaving barely enough space for him to see.
His companion, a young man of about same age who bore a striking resemblance, stood by awkwardly, looking hopeful that someone would drop another coin or note into the open guitar case in front of them.
For a moment, her steps slowed as she instinctively put her hand in her bag to fish for her coin purse. But her pace picked up again after a few seconds and she walked away. “Are you crazy? Opening your handbag in the middle of the street?” She looked around and noticed that nobody was stopping to make a donation. “This must be a bad street. No one would dare,” she told herself. “If I end up being mugged, everyone will say it serves me right. After all, this is Nairobi.”
Later as she rode in the bus, she noticed the young man and his companion still in the same spot. Several people stood in front of them, watching the performance with interest while others dropped their donations in the guitar case as they walked by. She felt shame and regret for walking past the young man. “Tomorrow, I’ll definitely do it. Tomorrow, I will give,” she assured herself.
Fear and shame often stop us from helping other people. These are normal feelings. The difference comes when you purpose to overcome these feelings and step up to do your part no matter the consequences. This is what being a hero is all about. You have to be willing to embrace vulnerability and risk being everybody’s fool.
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