Lessons Learned: Good People Still Exist

by:  Craig Peterson


And thank goodness they do.

Here’s why.

After three days of dealing with her past trauma and feeling overwhelmed, my young adult daughter told me she couldn’t take any more stress. She had to escape. She put the key to her apartment under the doormat and left – planning to leave town for good.

By the time I arrived, she was gone. For the next five minutes, she answered my texts then stopped. She did the same to a handful of others who reached out at my request. Every 15 minutes for the next hour, I sent a brief uplifting text.

I returned home with a heavy heart and tried to sleep – tossing and turning for hours – yet hoping someone would sense her need for help, her vulnerability. Her fate was now out of my hands.

At 4am, I awoke to a loud knock at the door. My daughter was standing on the porch. Within moments of accepting my invitation to come inside, she started to cry uncontrollably in my arms. After an hour of her talking and me listening, the despair was mostly gone. I learned of several triggers activating her PTSD – leaving her practically helpless.

I was lucky. Someone – a total stranger – stepped in, when I wasn’t able.

My daughter had been riding the city bus for nearly four hours. With the final stop of the day minutes away, the driver overheard her talking to the other remaining passenger about her troubles. After he departed, the driver initiated a conversation.

She asked about her unhappiness. She didn’t judge. Rather than affirming her confused thoughts, she showed compassion. She then took a risk and offered another point of view – reminding my daughter she was lucky to be surrounded by people who cared. Was running away the right thing to do? Wouldn’t her problems follow close behind?

After parking the bus for the night, the driver went one step further. She brought my daughter to my house in her personal car.

And by doing so, she saved a young woman – my daughter – from making a poor decision, one that possibly couldn’t be undone.

A friend was touched. “This story is a shining example of many things, notably the good in people – and moreover – your love. Whatever challenges we encounter – there is something that will give us light in the darkness.”

Lessons learned – wishing I had another chance.

D. Craig Peterson is a retired ATN Board Director. You name it, Craig has a story to share in achieving success and learning from mistakes as he raised six children to adulthood...all while maintaining faith and believing in unconditional love. He understands the ups and downs of learning challenges, special education, psychotropic medications, ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, sexual abuse, juvenile justice, residential placement and so much more. In his upcoming book Adopting Faith: A Father's Unconditional Love, Peterson details his journey in raising six children who brought unbelievable challenges from their birth families and the foster care system. His parenting is a combination of typical and unconventional strategies." His blog is here: https://adoptingfaithafathersunconditionallove.org/