WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning
disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that
would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is
done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children
do.  He cannot understand things as other children do.  Where is the natural
order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.  The father continued. 'I believe that
when a child like Shay, who is mentally and physically disabled comes into the
world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it
comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew
were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'  Shay's
father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their
team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it
would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to
be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not
expecting much) if Shay could play.  The boy looked around for guidance and
said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning.  I guess
he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a
team shirt.  His father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his
heart.  The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted.  In the bottom
of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by
three.  In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the
right field.  Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just
to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father
waved to him from the stands.  

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.  Now, with two
outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay
was scheduled to be next at bat.  At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and
give away their chance to win the game?  Surprisingly, Shay was given the
bat.  Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't
even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the
other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in
a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.  The
first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.  The pitcher again took
a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.  As the pitch came in,
Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.  
The game would now be over.  The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and
could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.  Shay would have
been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of
reach of all teammates.  Everyone from the stands and both teams started
yelling, 'Shay, run to first!  Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run
that far, but he made it to first base.  He scampered down the baseline,
wide-eyed and startled.  

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'  Catching his breath, Shay
awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the
base.  By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had
the ball.  The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be
the hero for his team.  He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman
for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally
threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.  Shay ran toward
third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward
home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay'!  Shay reached third
base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the
direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'  

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were
on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home,
stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam
and won the game for his team.

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys
from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this
world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer.  He died that winter, having never
forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home
and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
What Would You Do?