My scooter stopped today, while I was out with the Lad. Just … stopped. No lights, no fuel indicator lights, no beepability, brakes locked on. “Bother”, thought I, “that’s going to be a right pain in the buttocks”.
There were a few people in eyeshot, though not in close range. Three primary school aged children ran over from a distance, offering to help. “What happened?”, they asked, “Can we help?”
They swarmed over the machine, checking the key, lights, brake lock, all the other gadgets and widgets. Eventually one, who said he had a relative who was a mechanic, found the circuit breaker had triggered, and flicked it back on. All was working again. He went to pains to explain to me what had happened and how to fix it should it happen again.
“Can I have a ride?”, another boy tried. “I’m sorry, I wish I could give people rides – you have to be disabled to ride one of these.”
“Do you need a driver’s licence?” “No, you don’t.”
“So if I got disabled, would I get one?” “You might, or you might get a manual wheelchair, or a power wheelchair, or something else – it depends on the disability, and on other things.” “COOOOOOL!”
I thanked them for their willingness to help, congratulated the kid who fixed it on his mechanical skills, and went on my way.
Without kids in public spaces, without kids who spoke to strangers, without kids who saw themselves as part of the world, I’d probably still be sitting there in the chill wind and setting sun, waiting for the RAC.
The only adult stranger who spoke to me on this outing? Was a mustachioed bloke who wagged his fucking finger at me and cautioned me “Don’t you speed!” as I crawled past his group of people on the sidewalk, having slowed to less than walking speed lest one of them obliviously make a sudden movement.
I’ll take the children, thanks.
 This may be slightly edited. The Lad told me off for the word I did say.