Excuse me uncle

While walking to the polytechnic for a swim this morning, I came across a group of students who were playing soccer at the school field near my neighbourhood. As I continued to stroll down the familiar stretch of route towards the institute and glanced at the never-changing morning rush hour traffic, a soccer ball suddenly flew over the high fence and into the heavy traffic, threatening to be punctured by a fast moving vehicle.

Luckily, most vehicles swerved in time to avoid being hit by the ball but one vehicle was not so lucky and the ball hit its side door. The driver did not saw the oncoming danger and did not have any idea what hit the vehicle. Upon witnessing the incident, I thought to myself if I should lend a helping hand to retrieve the ball. I’d decided that if the ball is near me, I would not hesitate retrieving it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to risk my life dashing across the heavy traffic just to retrieve a ball.

Just then, the boys ran to the fence and shouted “Uncle…excuse me uncle, can help take the ball”? I looked around and realized that they were yelling for me to help them retrieve the ball. Since the ball now lies near the pavement, I decided to pick it up as the boys can’t possibility leave the school compound to retrieve it and to save another vehicle from hitting it. Then, the boys said to me “throw the ball over the lower fence” and after doing so, they said “thank you uncle”.

I can’t help but to giggle to myself after the incident. Am I really that old that they boys called me “uncle” or do they have difficulties differentiating a young and old man? And certainly, I’d known better to throw the ball over a lower fence but at least, they were courteous.