“Quanto custa?” I asked the little boy, and he answered me in a perfect English: ” It’s a donation, you pay as much as you want”.
He had entered the restaurant where we were sitting and waiting for our fiends to arrive. It was one of those small places, half eating area and half shop. Artifacts hanging from shelves, handmade purses, shirts, pictures. The wall had large glass panels where you could see the night outside with glares of orange light coming from the lamp-post on the sidewalk.
The boy must have not been older than 9. He was carrying a box full of cheese puffs, the type of food I don’t eat. He approached our table to sell us his goodies. I politely said “No, thank you”. He then found a seat at the empty table next to us and kept his observant eyes on us. At our table we were just busy talking and laughing. I watched him while he watched us.
Then it happened again like it happened before in different occasions, my body felt his life. In a second I read his thoughts and I knew his story. He had a mama because of the way he was dressed, nice and clean. Ha had a good family because he showed impeccable manners. He was a smart kid because he not only knew a second language but he also knew the universal language of communicating with his eyes and a smile. I knew that someday he’d be a business man and I didn’t want to take that dream away from him. So I called him over to our table and asked “Quanto custa?” And he explained that I could pay anything I wanted. I gave him a dollar and he gave me a bag of cheese puffs. He then left with a big smile.
We never ate the snack, but inside that bag was a short story of a kid who wanted to be someone big. Maybe he already was a big person inside, just waiting for his body to mature and catch up with his spirit.