Kindness triumphs over cruelty

March 26, 2013

The story of an 89-year-old woman who stopped to give two children a ride home from the store and then spent two days in the trunk of her own car has stunned the Cape Region.

The woman, Margaret Smith, probably felt nervous, but despite likely fear at allowing strangers to get into her car, Smith decided to offer help to young people in need.

Just a few minutes later, the two girls, only 14 and 15 years old, also made a decision.

In response to Smith’s kindness, they stole her car and the money Smith was carrying.

That would have been shocking enough, but they didn’t stop there.

They forced Smith into the trunk of her car and left her trapped in there for two days, using her money to party in a motel room in Seaford.

Smith, whom anyone would have excused for not helping strangers, took the path of kindness, while the two young people chose a different path: not rebellious joyriding, but a path of unimaginable cruelty.

Locking a woman in a trunk without food, water or medicine? For two days? This is not Afghanistan or Syria, and these are not child warriors kidnapped into combat in Chad or Somalia.

This is our home, Sussex County, yet here are two children showing the kind of de­praved indifference to human life that comes with war or inner-city street violence.

Smith not only offered to help by giving the girls a ride; she also helped them by surviving. Her faith and will to live overcame whatever the girls did, even leaving her to die in a cem­etery.

Her survival is a gift because it means less jail time for her tormenters.

The young people, whose futures should be so bright, chose indifference to life, including their own.

Margaret Smith chose kindness, faith and an indomitable will to live. While the young people chose to throw their futures away, Smith’s spirit has triumphed. Despite the dark­ness of her ordeal, that spirit remains bright.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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