Lizzie, her brother Liam and her mother went to the grand opening of the new aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo. They had been waiting for it for months – and had seen all of the posters of the new exhibits and the refurbished old ones. They were looking forward to the penguin exhibit with the new seating, the tunnel through the sharks, the jellyfish exhibit and lots of other fish – but the thing they were REALLY excited about was the new ‘petting’ tank. Lizzie could hardly wait to touch a real sea creature — not just stare at it through some glass – but touch it with her own two (or possibly all five) fingers!
The big day came and they entered the zoo and went straight to the aquarium, only to be faced with the LONGEST line in the ENTIRE world! They waited in line, and waited, and waited. Lizzie knew there was a fish just waiting for her touch — if only she could get to the tank – so she waited patiently – okay, maybe not patiently – but pretty quietly for a four-soon-to-be-five-year-old.
Finally a zoo employee came along the line to talk to the patrons. He gave them the option of waiting in the line for at least another hour – or to bypass the petting tank and come back at a later date. Lizzie’s mother knew that the kids had just about reached their melt-down point and she opted to follow the zoo employee past the petting tank and tour the rest of the new facility. She knew they would be back again and the kids would be able to pet the fish and she could keep her sanity — a great combination.
As they were passing the petting tank, Lizzie looked longingly at the crowd gathered around HER lovely fish. Those fish were calling her name – she knew she was meant touch them and give them some love. Besides most of the people standing around the tank weren’t kids – they were grown-ups — and they couldn’t possibly appreciate the how special it was to touch one of these wonderful creatures! Lizzie broke away from her mother’s clasp and ran to the tank before her mother could stop her.
“May I please pet a fish?”
The crowd magically parted for the little girl with her hand outstretched in love and her eyes filled with joy. No one griped about the little one who had cut in line, no one pushed her out of the way, no one said an unkind word. They simply moved aside and smiled as she walked to the tank and watched as she shared her love with her new friends.
Sometimes you just have to ask.