Monday, July 30, 2007

They're Among Us

What I thought was an urban legend was proven otherwise today. I was dutifully sitting at the back table in a large conference room at Dallas County Schools headquarters getting recertified to drive a school bus. Sitting to my right were two other bus drivers, one of whom I recognized as being the lady whom I had discovered last year could not read. She drives at my lot and I had to read some extremely simple instructions to her from some paperwork we had to complete.

Immediately next to me was a stranger, a gentleman about my age. I engaged him in conversation. He wanted to talk about fishing and I told him I didn't fish, but I asked him to tell me about fishing. He told me he was from Arkansas and that fishin' was real good up there now. Unfortunately, however, it was soon evident that he was a few lures shy of a tacklebox. But I enjoyed sharing stories with him and we were getting along nicely.

The fun began late in the session when the instructor passed out some simple forms for us to fill out. I thought they were self-explanatory, but the instructor had a dry-erase board up front and she drew an example of the form on the board. She added several horizontal lines. On the first line she wrote "Your Name" and then "07/30/2007" and finally "3SWB", the number of the conference room. She told us to be sure and use the name on our drivers' license.

I jotted down "Timothy Paul Perkins", "07/30/2007", "3SWB". Then I glanced over at my neighbor's paper. He had written (ready?),"Your Name", followed by the other two items. Not believing what I was seeing, I blinked hard and sure 'nuff, that's what he had written. Then he leaned back in his seat. I got to watch as the aforementioned lady, obviously not wanting to anything wrong, carefully, slowly, deliberately, wrote "Your Name" on her paper.

I couldn't bear to see them be embarrassed by anyone who would look at their forms. I gently told the gentleman to cross out "Your Name" and write, uh, "Your Name" in its place. Eventually, the lady also made the correction.

They are truly among us.

But we're all God's children. I hope that a miniscule bit aid helped them a bit. I really do.


Lynn said...

It is amazing in this day at time that adult illiteracy still exists. I think it is great how you allowed God to show His presence to these sweet souls through you. May He bless you with a wonderful year of ministry to His children.

Heather said...

Holy Hannibal...are there really people out there like this. Furthermore, they're driving around our city streets, unable to read street signs and hauling our most precious cargo, KIDS! Scary.

Blake Perkins said...

I watched an after school special about this when I was in Middle School. Scary stuff.

Brooke said...

I believe it. I often wonder how some of my students would react if they sat in church with me and saw kids their own age reading scripture to the congregation. They read the passage smoothly and without any mispronunciation. Everytime I have my students read aloud, I am amazed at how they struggle with even the simplest words. So sad.

Heather said...

Tim--My camera finally came yest. I can't wait to use it on vacation. We leave for CO tomorrow. I'll have enough time to read the manual on our drive up there. Can't wait to experiment with my new Canon Rebel XT.