The tourist, who came to their little town every winter, walked with a cane. She didn’t know why, but each day he came into the little store where she worked to get his groceries. He spoke a little Spanish and she spoke a little English—enough that they could have small conversations.
One day he came in and saw her son.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“He was born that way,” she said. From what she understood, there was a problem with the tendons in his ankles. The boy couldn’t walk as his ankles turned in. “His dream is to play soccer,” she said.
He gestured to his cane and nodded. “I understand that,” he said. “I knew a boy back home who walked the way your son does. It can be fixed, you know, with surgery.”
“Um hum,” she said. Just where did this man think she would find the money for such surgery?
The man went back home and she thought no more about the conversation.
Then one day the phone rang. “This is Dr. X. from the Shriner’s Hospital in Mexico City. Please tell your friend to stop emailing me. I will examine your son at the end of January and we will see if we can help. Oh, and just so you know, our services are free.”
“You did this?” she asked, when she next saw the tourist.
“Yes, I’ve been emailing and phoning the hospital about your son for the past year.”
“Thank you,” she said. She wanted to say more, but was stymied by language and emotion.
He nodded. He understood.
Friends and family donated money for the bus fare. They stayed with relatives in the City. The young lad had his surgery. The operation was a success.