Stop. Stoop.

Published by Eric Hiler on July 23, 2021

Imagine this fictional scene: A President of the United States (you choose which one, real or fictional; this is not meant to invoke any specific person or political reaction; rather I only want you to have in mind the position, the power, and the authority) is quickly walking through the halls of the White House toward a meeting of great importance when a 5 year old girl and her mom catches his/her eye. The President stops and gets down on one knee to be face to face with the child and chat, the secret service a bit confused and antsy to keep moving. You are witnessing the President of the United States stop to talk to a child, down on one knee while the world waits. After a couple of minutes, the President stands back up to his/her feet and shakes the mom's hand while wishing them well. Then the President continues down the hallway and back to the business of running the country.

How does this encounter change your view of the President?

Your skeptical side demands you look around to see who's watching and find the cameras. Surely this is planned for public consumption. There are no cameras. This is not a publicity stunt. You decide the girl's mom must be an important domestic or foreign dignitary. After an inquiry, the two are in town on vacation and getting a behind-the-scenes tour from a family member who is a longtime White House employee. The mom is a school teacher from Indiana, and they had no idea the President would be walking down that particular hallway. They stopped for a bathroom break.

The young mom tries to take in what just happened, and just then her aunt emerges from the restroom to see the stunned look on her face. "What happened," the aunt asks. While the young mom tells of the shocking encounter, you search for your own explanation. What did you just witness?

Among other things, you witnessed kindness and humility. The most powerful person on the planet stopped to greet a stranger and then stooped to talk to a child at her 5 year old level. This scene stirs us up inside. We feel affection and admiration because, even if for just a moment, we got to peek inside and see the President's character.

Are you too busy to stop? Are you too proud to stoop?