This is a true story that my colleague experienced. He told me that he was driving down Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, on a hot afternoon in July, looking for a place to park. He finally found one; and as he was backing into it, he noticed a group of black teenagers standing on the sidewalk next to the car.
Suddenly one of them jumped onto the street right in front of his car. The boy bent down and, when he straightened up, the teenager had a huge rock in his hand.
My colleague had a sense of panic. What was this kid going to do with this rock? Was he going to throw it through the wind-shield? Should he duck?
The boy smiled at him and put the rock safely down on the sidewalk, and walked on with his friends. My colleague realized that the boy had prevented him from damaging his car by picking up the rock that he would have hit if he had backed up to park, and then gone forward.
When he finished parking, Rabbi Kahn got out of his car and picked up the rock with both hands; and he thought to himself “We have heard so much this year about teenage violence, here was an example of teenage niceness and responsibility”.
Then Rabbi Kahn says that he did one more thing. He took that rock home; and when he got there, he put it in front of the hedges outside his house so that every time he went in or out of his home it would remind him of the young man who did a good deed for him, for no reason, and who taught Rabbi Kahn that we should not believe in stereotypes; and we should remember that people are capable of incredible good.