The heat shimmered up from the street and from the hot concrete Rock Hill city workers were pouring to fix curbs Wednesday. The guys wiped sweat from their foreheads and troweled the mortar with their knees aching. A few cars passed by on Stonewall Court without even slowing down.
“Hot out here,” said a worker named Gerry Adams, 54.
He said it to nobody because the world just kept going without noticing him.
Then along came Dymia Barnette.
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Dymia is less than 4 feet tall and weighs about 44 pounds. She is 4 years old. She passed by on the way home from pre-kindergarten class. She had done the same Tuesday, too. She looked out the car window and whispered, “Those guys are too hot!”
At home down the block, Dymia asked her parents, Anthony and April Barnette, if there was something she could do for the workers.
“Freeze-pops,” all declared.
“In life you teach your kids to be givers,” said father Anthony Barnette. “We have two older sons, too. We tell them find ways to help someone.”
The frozen treats were taken from the freezer. Dymia marched around the block like a cavalry charge.
Up to his elbows in concrete knelt Shane Pike, 56 years old. He was propped on a dirty elbow and looked up from over a mustache that was wide as a whisk broom but not near as wide as the grin that had suddenly covered his face.
“Hello, little lady!” said Pike.
“For you,” whispered Dymia Barnette.
She held out the freeze-pops.
Pike’s heart melted.
“What a great thing to do – thank you,” said Pike.
She gave him two. Grape and orange.
The freeze-pops did not melt. Pike ate both.
Adams, who had seen a million cars pass him in his life without a nod, thanked the girl and said how great she is.
“The greatest,” he said.
He got two, too.
Worker Nicholas Myers, 21, got out of his truck with supplies and there stood Dymia with her hands out to give him a frozen treat on a hot day. Two, because Dymia Barnette believes in giving two for one.
“Thank you,” Myers said.
Dymia Barnette took the pops that were left after helping the four guys and marched right back home. She put the remaining pops back in the freezer.
She ate one.
“Pineapple,” she said.
She waited for somebody else to come by her little street who was hot, and who worked, and who needed a smile in a world so many times colder than a freeze-pop.
“I tell everybody ‘thank you,’ ” Dymia said.
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065 • firstname.lastname@example.org