Today while driving home from the store, we passed down our familiar country roads. That’s when I saw it. One baby cow, outside of her broken fence, grazing along the side of the road.
I slowed and attempted to assess… one entire five-foot section of post was down, leaving a large escape route for the rest of the grazing cattle. I was tired and crabby after dealing with my youngest kiddo’s fever the past few days, and just wanted to get my oldest home after a busy day of errands just the two of us. I felt the selfish urge to keep proceeding directly to our destination, but sighed. When it comes to animals and people, often the hard things and the right things are the same. I turned my car around in a nearby drive and noticed another car who had passed us going the opposite direction do the same.
We approached each other slowly, and I rolled down my window. “Hi there! Don’t think that cow should be outside of the fence. Is that why you’re stopping, too?”
It was a younger guy, probably mid-twenties, driving a beater car and wearing a beanie cap with a goatee. “Yep, I was thinking I would stop here and let them know.” He motioned to the farm house nearby. I nodded, and told him we would wait to see if help was needed. Nervously I glanced at the young cow, who was oblivious to the occasional 50 mph traffic flying by her just inches away.
I watched the guy approach the home and talk with an older man. My seven year old son had looked up from his video game and was voicing his anxiety and wish to help. “Mom, let me out. I’m so good with animals. I can talk to the cow, I can help. I can keep her safe.” Aw, sweet boy. Like he has any experience with cows. “Sorry bud, we are on the side of a busy road, I can’t have you out near traffic. But thanks. And we will get the cow safe bud. Sit tight.”
The guy walked back towards our car. “Yeah, they are calling the farmer that lives down the road. I’m going to wait here to make sure she is safe.” Sigh, be still my heart. What a sweet kid. We parked nearby and attempted to herd the cow away from the street. This cow was like, “Whatever. I do what I want.” in full Cartman attitude. Luckily she wasn’t moving much, and the farmer was on the way. We waited in our own cars, reinforcements came, and the cow’s safety was secured. We motioned to each other in kindred spirits as we slowly drove away after the situation. But I was thinking later this evening.
I didn’t even ask the guy’s name. Rude! I was shocked that someone actually stopped for the calf with me, which first made me happy and then really sad. There were many people who didn’t stop, but to not be the only one that gave a shit today was nice. To see a younger male give a shit, also made me happy today. If you know me or my family, you know we rescue all kinds of animals… suicidal turtles trying to cross major roadways, runaway dogs, and feral cats. We can now add cows to our collective rescue resumes.
Today’s impromptu adventure reminded me that people out there care, even people we do not know and who do not know us. People that are most likely different than us but share the same respect for humanity and living things. It was a refreshing change of pace for the day, which could have been viewed as “annoying” or “inconvenient” – but turned out to be anything but those things. This experience also served to teach my son an important lesson in accountability, kindness, and compassion while reminding me of these wonderful people in the world.
Keep looking out for each other, friends. Cow-abunga.