John Quinoñes, Keeping the Heights Safe

Just got back from checking out A Man for All Seasons at the library, since I cannot recollect thing one about reading it back in IVth form. I’m hoping it will inform the discussion I will be leading (more like kicking off, really, than leading) at my book club this weekend. Or at least demonstrate that I put some effort into preparing, since I finished the book (Wolf Hall) a few weeks ago and now can barely remember it. I liked it, I know how it ended, but my recall for the finer details . . .

As I waited to check out my books, a young guy whose appearance might cause some people to look askance at him approached the desk. Back when I read A Man for All Seasons the first time, we would have called his look heavy metal, but I’m afraid to say that I don’t know exactly what the kids are into these days.

Suffice it to say that he looked like many people I know—black leather & metal wrist band, a shirt that Ed Hardy aspires to imitate, and facial hair that my mind’s eye remembers as soul-patchy.

In short, not a look that intimidates me, but a look that I can imagine overprotective parents might hold against a young man if he were to talk to their young daughter at the public library.

Which was exactly what he was doing. She was lost. I overheard him tell the library staff that the little girl’s mom had gone and the girl was scared.

He seemed more concerned, initially, than the staff, although they certainly took charge once they snapped to what he was saying.

As I left the library, he was standing outside, smoking a cigarette that looked hand-rolled. Something else that might trigger parental eye-rolling. I thanked him for looking out for the girl, and he explained that he’d seen a show on TV called What Would You Do, in which almost all of the adults secretly filmed on the show ignored little kids standing in the street crying. He said he didn’t have kids, but that if he did, he’d certainly want someone to stop.

I have to admit that I glanced up at the corner of the building to see if a film crew would pop out. One did not.

He was finishing up his smoke, but said he was going back in the library to keep an eye on things, check on the girl, make sure the library staff had things under control.

I wish John Quinoñes had been filming at the Heights branch library today, but it is nice to know that he’s making the Heights a safer place even without having to actually be here. I’d like to think that the building was crawling with adults who would have jumped up at the first sight of a lost little girl, but the fact is, I bet plenty of them wouldn’t have noticed. I wish I’d had some kind of good citizen award to give to the guy, something more than just stopping to tell him thank you.

Surely by now, the little girl has been reunited with her mother. I hope the guy was still there so that the mom could thank him. If the story ends with the mom not being effusively grateful, then I don’t want to know about it. I’m going to just believe that it did.

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