Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Head to Head

Y. Bromberg

“I know kids don’t think riding with a helmet is cool,” Mr. Lewis said, his big eyes flickering in David’s direction. “But it saved my life once… Look at this, kid.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

head

Photo: Shutterstock

Based on a true story

Summer had just ended and the warm sunny days continued into the first months of school. That’s why everyone in my class rode their bikes to school; the weather was just too nice to miss out on. The only problem was that no one liked wearing helmets. So one day, Mrs. Bowers, our fifth-grade English teacher, brought in the school’s crossing guard to talk about bike safety. 

“Pay attention now, boys!” Mrs. Bowers said shrilly, pursing her lips like she was sucking on a lemon drop. “Anyone spacing out can stay after school with me, writing about Hamilton versus Jefferson’s debate on how to run the federal government.” 

Everyone snapped to attention as the door opened and in walked Mr. J. Lewis, the crossing guard. He was a hulking giant of a man who walked with his head down and spoke in a whispered lisp. He glanced furtively around the classroom, his eyes shadowed by the brim of a baseball cap pulled low. I couldn’t help but notice that his brown shirt was rumpled and untucked.

Photo: Shutterstock

“Good afternoon, Mr. Lewis!” Mrs. Bowers said loudly, startling everyone. “You may begin addressing the class!” 

Mr. Lewis cleared his throat and started talking softly. 

“It’s important to wear a helmet while bike riding…” He trailed off awkwardly and glanced at Mr. Bowers for support. She pursed her lips and said nothing. 

“When I was a kid I got real hurt… I fell while riding my bike, but I was wearing a helmet...” Mr. Lewis tugged on his baseball cap, nearly covering his eyes completely. “So you should listen to your teachers, okay? All it takes is one bad fall and you might never be the same...” 

His last words sent a chill down my back and I glanced around to see the class’s reaction. David, the most popular kid who led my biking group to and from school, was smirking and everyone else only seemed amused, as well. 

“Well, thank you for that”—Mrs. Bowers floundered momentarily for the right words—“important safety message. I’m confident it will have a big impact on my class.” She didn’t look so confident. 

Mr. Lewis nodded, tugged on his cap again, and quickly left the room.

Related Stories

Movers and Shakers

C. B. Lieber

Some people come up with great ideas that end up snowballing… turning into a movement that affects o...

F Is for Friendship: Don’t Judge

Ruchama Schnaidman

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I did, and I heard something I probably shouldn’t have. They were ta...

Super Avi: Episode 3

Ruchama Schnaidman

I constantly have to remind myself that Avi is just 14 and was once a regular, popular kid with bare...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah