Passing through the Atlanta airport one morning， I caught one of those trains that take travelers from the main terminal to their boarding gates. Free， sterile1 and impersonal2， the trains run back and forth3 all day long. Not many people consider them fun， but on this Saturday I heard laughter.
At the front of the first car – looking out the window at the track that lay ahead – were a man and his son.
stopped to let off passengers， and the doors wee closing again. “Here we go! Hold on to me tight!” the father said. The boy， about five years old， made sounds of sheer4 delight.
I know we’re supposed to avoid making racial distinctions these days， so I hope no one will mind if I mention that most people on the train were white， trips or vacations – and that the father and son were black， about as inexpensive as you can buy.
“Look out there!” the father said to his son. “See that pilot? I bet he’s walking to his plane.” The son craned his neck to look.
As I got off， I remembered some thing I’d wanted to buy in the terminal. I was early for my flight， so I decided5 to go back.
I did – as I was about to reboard the train for my gate， I saw that the man and his son had returned too. I realized then that they hadn’t been heading for a flight， bee riding the shuttle.
“I want to ride some more!”
“More?” the father said， mock-exasperated but clearly pleased. “You’re not tired?”
“This is fun!” his son said.
“All right，” the father replied， and when a door opened we all got on.
There are parents who can afford to send their children to Europe or Disneyland， and the children turn out rotten. There are parents who live in million- and give their children cars and swimming pools， yet something goes wrong. Rich and poor， black and white， so much goes wrong so often.
“Where are all these people going， Daddy?” the son asked.
“All over the world，” came the reply. The other people in the air port wee leaving for distant destinations or arriving at the ends of their journeys. The father and son， though， riding this shuttle together， making it exciting， sharing each other’
So many troubles in this country – crime， soullessness that seems to be taking over the lives of many young people， the lowering of educational standards， the increase in vile6 obscenities in public， the disappearance7 of simple civility. So many questions about what to up with this plan on a Saturday morning.
The answer is so simple: parents who care enough to spend time， and to pay attention and to try their best. It doesn’t cost a cent， yet it is the most valuable thing in the world.
The train picked up speed， and the father pointed8 something out， and the boy laughed again， and the answer is so simple.