© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

Escalating Fear

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Atlanta airport with a pair of coworkers, one of whom has a slightly irrational fear of escalators. As such, she insisted that we stand both in front and behind her as we rode up the escalator.

This reminded me of the time that Tim and I took our second-cousin Eric to a Royals game. Eric, then eight, also had an irrational fear of escalators and balked out of line as we proceeded to step aboard. Already on the moving stairway, all I could do was watch from above as Tim, tired of pleading, simply grabbed Eric by the shoulders, lifted him up, and set him on the escalator much like a giant chess player would move his pawn.

I feared the worst. Eric could have easily let his phobia overwhelm him and could have caused a scene. But just the opposite happened. He immediately relaxed and gave an awkward chuckle. Eight times his size and a hundred times stronger, apparently having cousin Tim standing behind him, holding his shoulder comforted the lad and he rode up the rest of the way with a confident, toothy grin.

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