Posted by myideas1 on 13th August 2008
Well, he’s not little anymore, but he was at the time. When I was fourteen, Jay was six years old. He was a well-mannered little kid with curly red hair, a face full of freckles and an easy smile. As a matter of fact, he could even cook a full breakfast for himself, at six years old!
His mother worked odd hours, which usually left him on his own most of the time, so Jay learned early on to do for self. After I discovered he was an only child, I became his unofficial big brother and he treated me as such.
One day, I saw him as he was going to the neighborhood convenience store. I spotted him walking at a quick pace in my direction. I was on my way to the tennis court to practice my game.
Calling out to him as I always did, I shouted, “How’s it going, Jay?”
He yelled back, “Fine, but I can’t talk right now because I have to go to the store for my mom.”
After we had made it within a few feet of each other, I noticed something was in his hair that made it look all matted together.
I inquired, “Jay, what’s that in your hair?”
His response was, “Nothing...I can’t talk right now or I’ll get in trouble. I have to go to the store for my mom.”
He started to cry.
I called out, “Jay what’s wrong?”
Once again, his reply was the same.
As I got even closer to him, I saw blood running down his left ear from a gash he had in the top of his head. I was afraid for little Jay because he was losing a lot of blood. I told him that he should come with me immediately to the apartment complex management office. I figured that we could at least get some bandages there.
Jay emphatically said, “No…I can’t because I’ll get in trouble.”
I knew I had to do something. After pleading with him, to no avail, to come with me, I decided to run to the management office as fast as my legs could carry me so they could call an ambulance, police or do something to help.
When I arrived at the management office, I told Carol, the apartment manager, what I had witnessed. She quickly called an ambulance and the police department was notified. We got into her car and sped up the hill to the nearby convenience store. When we walked into the store, we saw little Jay at the counter, purchasing a pack of cigarettes for his mother.
It was one of the most heartbreaking sights I had ever seen in my short life. This little innocent human being standing there with matted hair, a gash in the top of this head and blood running down his ear, still determined to obey his abusive mother at any cost.
I will never forget his words that day. He bravely said to us, “You know, when my mom hit me on top of my head with that belt buckle, I didn’t even cry.”
At that point, all of the adults who were looking on, did.
A few weeks later, on the evening before it was time to go to court to testify on little Jay’s behalf, I walked around my apartment complex, going door to door. I wanted to find out whether or not any of the other kids -- who knew little Jay had been beaten by his mother, were going to court to speak up for him. They all replied, “No, we can’t go, our parents won’t let us.”
I later found out that many of the residents, both children and adults, already knew little Jay was being abused long before this incident.
I remember being extremely disappointed with my friends and their parents. I was taught that you should do whatever you could to help someone in need. But on that fateful day, as I looked around the courtroom, I was the only kid who showed up.
Unfortunately, at age fourteen, I learned that Albert Einstein was right. “The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” After the trial, Jay and his mother moved away the next day.
Thirty-one years later, the memory of little Jay is still etched in my mind and I often talk about him in my presentations. People sometimes ask me what happened to him. Well, I never saw him again. Nevertheless, I hope his life took a turn for the better because he deserved no less than the best.