Showing Empathy

by Kylie Tan (P4 2021)
        “Ring ring…” The last bell of the day rang as Peter dashed out of his classroom. “Oh no! I might miss the premiere of The Avengers in the cinema as it is already 1.30pm and The Avengers is at 2.00pm!” Peter thought as he quickened his steps. After running out the school gate, he dashed towards the traffic junction as he waited for the traffic light to turn green.
       While waiting, an old lady caught his eye. Her clothes were the same set of clothes his late grandmother used to wear when she went out. Peter also noticed that she walked unsteadily and smelled of medicated oil, just like his late grandmother who had rheumatism.
       “Oh no! This old lady might not be able to reach the other side of the road on time!” Peter thought as memories of his late grandmother’s tragic road incident swamped his mind. She had been crossing the road too slowly and was knocked down by an impatient, reckless driver.
       “Should I help her or should I not? If I do not, I will be able to watch my show, but her family members will feel sad like how I feel when I miss my grandmother. If I do, I will not be able to watch The Avengers. I think it is more important to help this old lady cross the road safely,” Peter thought as he walked towards the old lady to ask her if she needed help.
       However, she was unwilling to come to terms with her deteriorating condition and she insisted on crossing the road on her own. Even though she already answered “No”, Peter insisted on helping her. She tried to walk away but she suddenly quivered like a leaf in the wind and almost lost her balance. Without a second thought, Peter swiftly rushed with an extended arm and helped her regain balance.
       “Ok, ok you can help me cross the road,” she finally agreed unwillingly as Peter held on to her arm, while they walked across the road.
       Peter would never forget the radiant beams of gratitude as the old lady’s lips curled into a grateful smile before she thanked Peter profusely after crossing the road. Peter asked her if she needed help to walk to her next destination. However, she said she would hire a taxi to pick her up. After hearing what she said, Pete bade a cheery farewell and a song of ecstatic joy reverberated in Peter’s heart as he rejoiced over the empathy he had shown.
       That night, Peter reflected on the day’s events before he drifted off to sleep. As Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Peter was truly glad to have shown empathy towards others.
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